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Studios have a set schedule for when their movies are released to the public, and for the most part they pull this off without any complications. However, in the age of the internet, occasionally hackers have gotten their "hands" on highly-anticipated releases ahead of time. The incident with 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine immediately comes to mind as an example. Now Disney is the victim of such piracy, and ironically, it may have been the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie taken from them.
Earlier today at a town hall meeting with ABC employees, Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed that hackers have obtained one of the studio's upcoming movies, and they're threatening to release it unless they're paid a ransom in Bitcoin. At the time, Iger didn't identity which movie this is, but Deadline is reporting that said movie is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. That and Cars 3 are Disney's biggest blockbusters arriving in the coming weeks, so it's not surprising to hear that Johnny Depp's latest Jack Sparrow outing could be the "victim." Whether this is the ransomed movie or something else, the hackers are threatening to release the film in increments if their demands aren't met, but Disney is reportedly refusing to pay and is meeting with the FBI to figure out how to handle this unfortunate situation.
Piracy is no joke, and any movie released early by hackers would result in major consequences for the movie studio said movie hails from. While Disney certainly doesn't want this to happen, let's be honest: if Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales or one of its other blockbusters, it wouldn't hurt them as much as it would another company. Disney is the biggest studio in Hollywood, as evidenced by how it was the first to cross the $7 billion mark in a single year during 2016. We're not even halfway through 2017 yet, and Disney already has two of the highest worldwide grossing movies of the year: Beauty and the Beast being #1 and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 being #3. There's more than enough going for Disney when it comes to hauling in piles of cash.
Even though Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales being leaked wouldn't ruin Disney, obviously the executives from the House of Mouse don't want this to happen, so they'll take whatever action necessary to make sure that doesn't happen. Still, they may have to prepare for the hackers following through on this threat. That's what happened with Netflix and Orange is the New Black Season 5 being uploaded early, only in Dead Men Tell No Tales' case, early release on the internet will hurt its ticket sales.
You can catch Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales legally once it's released in theaters on May 26.