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Was Sony Hacking Behind Latest Piracy Scare?

Was Sony Hacking Behind Latest Piracy Scare?

Pirates got hold of copies of five Sony releases: the already-opened Brad Pitt actioner “Fury,” the upcoming Christmas wide release “Annie,” Sony PIctures Classics awards contenders “Still Alice” and “Mr. Turner” and planned 2015 faith-based “To Write Love On Her Arms.” Swiftly illegal streaming sites showed significant viewings. This comes right after a serious hacking incident involving the studio’s email system that still hasn’t been fully restored after nearly a week.
Speculation runs rampant: could this be the work of North Korea, angry at the portrayal of the country and its leader in their Christmas release “The Interview”? (Whether this was available to copy, or even if the Koreans would want what they consider to be an offensive film to be widely seen, is unclear.) That at least one non-screener film was included as well as mainstream family film “Annie,” which so far has had little awards distribution, suggests that pirates may have had access to Sony computers.
Reports from piracy-monitoring experts suggest that the better-known, male-oriented “Fury” has gotten the most viewers so far worldwide. It didn’t seem to have much impact on this weekend’s numbers — the film dropped only 20% despite losing 40% of its theaters. But this piracy could steal potential viewers away from “Annie” and wreak havoc with Sony’s marketing rollout ahead.

And although the totals of downloads reported for the SPC films are lower, their customer base is also smaller, and the over 100,000 cases so far for “Still Alice” (for which Julianne Moore is the leading best actress candidate, and which isn’t slated for other than qualifying runs until January 16) have to be a real threat to that film’s prospects.

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