The latest high-profile hacking story is a raid on Sony Pictures that put a major film still in theaters, plus some movies that haven’t even been released yet, online for illicit downloads. Variety surveys the damage:
Copies of DVD screeners of four unreleased Sony movies including the upcoming “Annie” are getting some unwelcome early exposure, but nothing compared with the frenzy enveloping “Fury,” the war pic still in theaters that bowed last month.
“Fury” has been downloaded by over 888,000 unique IP addresses since showing up on peer-to-peer networks on Nov. 27, according to piracy-tracking firm Excipio. That’s high enough to be the second most-downloaded movie currently being pirated, and it’s not out of movie theaters yet.
Another big Sony movie, “Annie,” is also being pirated, this one three weeks ahead of its own wide release. Other Sony movies being downloaded include “Mr. Turner,” “Still Alice” and “To Write Love on Her Arms.”
“The theft of Sony Pictures Entertainment content is a criminal matter, and we are working closely with law enforcement to address it,” a Sony spokeswoman said in a statement to Variety.
A source with knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the hacking earlier this week divulged that the multi-title leak is likely related to the hacking. Many of the leaked copies are watermarked.
The kicker is that some believe the attack might have been perpetrated by North Korea, in a fit of pique over the upcoming Sony film “The Interview,” a black comedy about two goofball journalists tasked by the CIA with assassinating Nork dictator Kim Jong Un. If there were any lingering questions about the limits of Kim Jong Un’s sense of humor, we appear to have a definitive answer. Frankly the trailer for that film didn’t excite me, but since I enjoy annoying dictators, I’ll post a copy here:
A tangentially interesting tidbit from the Variety article is that people are downloading the existing release Fury like hotcakes, but relatively few downloaders seem interested in taking any of the new releases, including the very heavily advertised remake of “Annie” starring Jamie Foxx. (I can’t remember a film trailer that’s been pushed harder, further in advance, than “Annie.” I could swear I’ve been seeing that trailer for years, just about every time I go to the movies. It already seems like an old film that came out ages ago.) You have to wonder if there’s consternation in the Sony marketing department about “Annie” attracting less than 20 percent of the interest as Fury, a modest success that’s close to wrapping up its theatrical run.