The devastating Sony Pictures data breach is the nightmare that keeps on going. Yesterday, North Korean officials publicly washed their hands of complicity in the hack, which has now unveiled yet another mortifying piece of deeply private studio intel. By now the studio has hemorrhaged everything from the social security numbers of some 47,000 employees to the gender-imbalanced annual salaries of 17 top executives.
An unencrypted text document litany of internal workplace complains has now come to the fore. Gawker has rounded up highlights, if you can call them that, from a newly leaked document indicating that, as Indiewire Editor-in-Chief Dana Harris puts it, “Even the studio doesn’t like the movies they’re making”—specifically, Sony’s Adam Sandler projects.
-There is a general “blah-ness” to the films we produce. Althought we manage to produce an innovative film once in awhile, Social Network, Moneyball, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, we continue to be saddled with the mundane, formulaic Adam Sandler films. Let’s raise the bar a little on the films we produce, and inspire employees that they are working on the next Social Network. That said, there’s a strange dichotomy of encouraging us to be fiscally responsible, but then upper management allows certain talent and filmmakers to bleed us dry with their outlandish requests for private jets, wardrobe and grooming stylists – and are surprised when they are asked to work more than 5 hours to promote their film.
-It is commendable that SPE understands/supports the importance of risk-taking, particularly in how the we pick films to greenlight. However, the studio needs to change deal structure that has been in place with Happy Madison, as this arrangement has disproportionately benefited Adam Sandler and his team, relative to SPE.
-In TV and Theatrical, I hope management looks closely at the money spent on development and term deals to ensure efficiency. There are a lot of term deal personnel as well as creative personnel, yet we only release a dozen or so Columbia Pictures a year, for example. And will we still be paying for Adam Sandler? Why?
-Perhaps it’s a generational thing, but I’ve been disappointed with the content of some of the films we’ve been producing lately. I don’t think people who know me would consider me a prude, but the boorish, least common demomonator [sic] slate strikes me as a waste of resource and reputation
Will Sandler really be affected by these disparaging remarks? He has a four-picture deal with Netflix on the docket. The comments have more to say about Sony, which now will need to focus on re-fortressing its network security, and its reputation.
But is there a silver lining? Harris, in her op-ed, wonders if it’s “possible that amidst all this embarrassment, the truth could set Sony free?” This could be a significant opportunity for Sony to reconsider the kinds of films the studio invests in: in other words, the studio ought to use this as an opportunity to make better movies.
EARLIER: On November 24, the attacks by a group ominously self-described as “Guardians of Peace” disabled Sony’s email and internal systems. That lasted about a week, and culminated in an NSA-style disclosure of the gender inequality happening inside the studio. Over 6,000 employees’ salaries were detailed in a massive document indicating that of the 17 US Sony employees “annual rates” of $1 million and upwards, Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal is the only woman. Her rate of $3 million, per the leaked spreadsheet, is highest on the list, equal to Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton.
On top of its already heightening paranoia, the global conglomerate now has to worry about losing money on films including “Still Alice,” “Mr. Turner,” “Annie” and the already-released “Fury” and more, all of which were stolen from Sony servers where videos were housed.