Hackers are threatening to release an upcoming Disney feature film on the internet if the studio does not pay a ransom in bitcoin, the company's CEO, Bob Iger, told ABC employees on Monday.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, which first reported the story, the hackers purportedly threatened to release the film in sections, starting with the first five minutes, until the ransom demand is met. But Iger said the company has chosen not to pay a ransom.
Iger did not reveal which of the company's movies the hackers claim to have stolen, but the possibilities appear limited to two films: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, due for release on May 26 and screened in March for exhibitors at the industry convention CinemaCon, and the animated feature Cars 3, due for release on June 16.
Disney does not have any more films on its theatrical slate until Thor: Ragnarok on Nov. 3, Coco on Nov. 22, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi on Dec. 15.
The news comes weeks after episodes from the new season of Orange Is the New Black were posted illegally on the internet after Netflix did not pay ransom to a hacker using the name "The Dark Overlord." That hacker also threatened to release content from other companies, including ABC, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company, but it was unclear who was responsible for the purported hack of the Disney movie.
When reached by BuzzFeed News, a representative for the FBI declined to comment, saying that the agency "can neither confirm or deny the existence of investigations." Representatives for Disney did not respond to BuzzFeed News' requests for comment.
This story has been updated to include the FBI's response.
Adam B. Vary is a senior film reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Adam B. Vary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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