Top Film Industry Stories of 2014 #4:
The 12 Days of Hackmas

By David Mumpower

January 8, 2015

Hunch hunch, what what, buh bo.

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On the 12th day of Hackmas, North Korea gave to us...
Theaters bein' a-scared
Sandler films degraded
Sorkin's got no money
Kevin Hart unfriended
Jolie acts entitled
Spidey terminated
Employee private data
(*deep breath*) Fiiiiiive Sony films
Four lawsuits filed
The next Bond script
Obama’s movie picks
And a whole bunch of publicityyyyyyy

Unless you’ve been living in an underground warren over the past few months, you have heard about the Sony hack. Its implications have been so wide reaching that two different governments are engaged in a war of words regarding responsibility and ramifications. Rarely does a political situation also excite fans of juicy celebrity gossip, yet that is the exactly what has transpired. United States President Barack Obama even finds himself in the unlikely position of being included on both sides of this ledger.

The Sony hack began the week of Thanksgiving. As some unfortunate employees were fantasizing about turkey, their days were suddenly disrupted by an incident that would wreck their holidays. A message popped up on their computers, and the splash screen included the text: ““This is just the beginning.”

The more important message was, “Hacked by #GOP.” No, Sony had not angered Republicans. The Guardians of Peace, a group of computer experts working on behalf of North Korea, were notifying the corporation of their intent to wreak havoc in the coming days and weeks. They were as good as their (ominous) word.


What transpired next is historically significant in myriad ways. A major corporation was alerted to the fact that a third party had compromised their data. And I mean ALL of their data. Any employee of the company had their personal information stolen by these hackers. They warned that the company’s “top secrets” would be revealed if Sony failed to agree to their demands. Suffice to say that Sony chose not to negotiate with terrorists. Many numbers of Sony employees regret this choice. While nobody has been fired yet due to the public nature of the situation, proverbial heads are going to roll.

The first shot off the bow occurred on Thanksgiving during a day when most Americans were enjoying a decadent tribute to gluttony and sloth. The hackers who had pilfered 100 terabytes of Sony data chose that day to release five different Sony wide releases onto the various torrent sites. Brad Pitt’s Fury was the most notable of them since it was already a huge box office hit. None of the other four films had been released yet, which actually made their availability on pirate web sites a much bigger deal. One of them, Annie, was the Christmas Day anchor of Sony’s holiday revenue. Another, To Write Love on Her Arms, was not scheduled for release until March of 2015. The financial losses from these leaks are in the eight figure range, possibly more. Fury alone has been illegally downloaded millions of times.

Remarkably, the hackers had only scratched the surface with their malevolent intent. When employees returned from the Thanksgiving holiday, they discovered that they were still locked out of their computers. They also learned the salaries of all of their co-workers, an egregious breach of privacy. By this point, virtually every non-conspiracy theorist had deduced that the cause for the hack was not simple malice. North Korea was obviously the architect of the invasion. They were irritated by the impending release of a silly buddy comedy entitled The Interview in which Seth Rogen and James Franco attempt to assassinate Kim Jong-un. This is akin to declaring war on Great Britain due to an innate dislike of Benny Hill.

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