Hackers say they’ve accessed and will release a major new Disney film unless they are paid a hefty ransom in Bitcoin, but the studio is refusing to pay, studio chief executive Bob Iger said Monday.
The Disney executive told employees that the company is working with U.S. federal investigators on the claim by hackers, who demanded an undisclosed sum be paid in digital currency.
The hackers have reportedly threatened to post the first five minutes of the stolen film online, followed by 20-minute sections of the footage until the demands are met.
While Iger didn’t name the allegedly stolen film, various reports indicate it may be Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, slated for release May 26. Others have suggested in could be Cars 3, due for release in mid-June.
Prominent ransom demands are the latest twist in entertainment-world piracy, with this situation coming weeks after a similar threat was made against streaming giant Netflix regarding its hit series Orange Is the New Black.
Netflix also refused to pay an undisclosed ransom amount to hackers, who subsequently released 10 of 13 episodes of the forthcoming season online — weeks ahead of the show’s planned June 9 launch.
The group behind that earlier theft claimed to have stolen additional material from other studios and pledged to release further titles unless “modest” ransoms are paid.