Five days after “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” held its world premiere in Shanghai Disneyland on May 11, the film is now being held hostage by hackers. The situation has similarities to the Friday WannaCry Ransomware attack that held hostage 200,000 computers across 150 countries.
In both situations, the hackers asked for Bitcoin as payment. However, unlike in the computer malware attack that denied the owner access to files, the hacker of the Hollywood movie is threatening to release segments of the film starring Johnny Depp in segments online, The Guardian reported.
Disney Not Dealing with Hackers
While Bob Iger, CEO of Walt Disney, did not identify the movie involved in a town hall meeting of ABC employees, Deadline.com identified the victim as “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” While the world premiere was held in China on Thursday, the film will show on May 25.
Iger said Disney refuses to pay the hackers and is working with federal investigators to identify the ransom holders. The first release would be five minutes of the movie. If Disney still refuses to pay a sizeable ransom, the hackers threatened to release 20 minutes of the movie.
If the hackers release more parts of the movie online, it could spell financial disaster for Walt Disney if their box office result would be affected since moviegoers may opt to watch the film online rather than pay for tickets. In China, box office analysts estimate the film would earn 1.5 billion yuan.
Movies’ Box-Office Results
Disney has been benefitting from the franchise’s exhibition in China, the second-largest movie market in the world. When the first installment was shown in China in 2003, the film earned 27 million yuan. The second installment was not exhibited in China, but the third and fourth installments were show and registered box-office receipts of 126 million yuan in 2007 and 464 million yuan in 2011, respectively, as more Chinese get exposed to the franchise, China.org reported.
The opening of Shanghai Disneyland in June 2016 where there is a “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride and holding of the world premiere in the same resort were the perfect combination to boost the fifth franchise’s box-office results until the hacker came along and continues to spoil the day of Walt Disney.