Day by day, the recent hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment continues to spark stories in the news as information contained within personal emails and files is released and reported on. Now, the group behind the hack, Guardians of Peace, announced they will be releasing a series of “Christmas Gifts,” the first of which is Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton's emails. This comes at a time where the currently-released files add up to a little over 200GB of the reportedly 100TB stolen, or 0.2%, of the information that hackers admit to stealing. So what's next?
The truth is that aside from Adam Sandler’s Hotel Transylvania 2, which is still filming, and Seth Rogen’s Pixar-inspired Sausage Party, which is still being animated, Sony Pictures' 2015 films such as Neill Blomkamp's Chappie, The Wedding Ringer, highly-anticipated summer releases like Pixels and franchise-starter Goosebumps are at a stage in post-production where much of the movie is finished and is now being edited - CGI, sound, color correcting, etc. – for release. (You can find a more complete list below.)
This means Sony has multiple versions of released and unreleased films in various stages of development, with various stages of CGI completed. And because the entertainment industry is required to work around the globe, the ability for executives and producers to watch new cuts of a film and provide notes, remotely, is necessary. Unfortunately, this modern advancement also becomes a security nightmare and essentially a “catch-all” as anything and everything could, and likely has, been copied from Sony's systems.
Of the 8 separate Sony leaks, the unwanted releases of Annie, Fury, Still Alice, and Mr. Turner give us our first real sense of what a direct attack at an entire film studio looks like. Fortunately for Sony, these four film leaks appear to be prepared screeners for Awards Consideration, critically (NYFCC, LAFCA, etc.) and professionally (Oscar, SAG, etc.), and not anything directly from Sony’s guarded vault.
That said, it’s safe to assume that not all of the 100TB will not translate into direct releases of emails, videos and confidential documents. 100TB, or 100,000GB, is still an astonishing amount of information to have, and no matter how protective Sony Pictures Entertainment is as a corporation, there’s no way they can realistically believe anything is protected. The key to any secret may literally be in a document file billions of times smaller than the whole of the leak.
The most valuable secrets Sony has are the ones they’re best known for, of course, and which don’t require a password: films. The online leaks of Annie, Fury, Still Alice and Mr. Turner all represent releases from properties Sony has already approved screeners of. When you take a step back and look at the sheer scale of what's occurring, you begin to realize that because of modern technology, servers and dutiful workers, the majority of Sony’s theatrical releases in 2015 are either completed or close to, and as such are subject to being stolen in the same way the emails, films and files were before. Let’s break down why.
The Big Leak 2015?
If a lineup of unreleased Sony films does, in fact, turn out to be the ultimate “Christmas Gift” that the Guardians of Peace will be putting out, there’s no real way to tell how damaging it will be for Sony Pictures. Millions? Billions? It could be anyone’s guess. As a whole, entertainment is the United States’ largest export, and Sony Pictures might soon have to try and survive by selling a product to an audience which has already had it many months ahead of time.
Fortunately in Sony’s favor, torrent downloads, which still account for a quarter of all internet usage, are still that of a very powerful vocal minority. After all, we’ve seen films such as X-Men Origins: Wolverine leak early and still go on to do well financially; yet we have never seen anything like this take place in any industry, with the potential for everything to leak at once. Even attempting to estimate the financial impact a leak of this size could have on Sony will almost certainly be undervalued.
As it stands, there’s a clear divide between the real world and digital one, and we as a society have yet to figure how to maneuver these tantalizing glimpses and the boundaries we find ourselves pressing against. If this mass release of films does occur, however, it’s almost certain that such boundaries will be shattered, and there’s potential that Sony Pictures Entertainment could very well fall because of it. No matter what, it’s safe to say that we’ve never seen anything like this before - and hopefully, we never will again.
Below you'll find a list of the 22 upcoming Sony Pictures Entertainment films (either produced or distributed by the studio), which could be released. There could be more, there could be less - but the possibility of this happening is very much real.
Chappie (Action) - After being kidnapped by two criminals during birth, Chappie becomes the adopted son in a strange and dysfunctional family. Chappie is preternaturally gifted, one of a kind, a prodigy. He also happens to be a robot. [Neill Blomkamp, Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel] [Filmed: October 2013; release date: March 6, 2015]
Goosebumps (Adventure/Comedy) - A young kid teams up with the niece of young adult horror author R.L. Stine after the writer's imaginary demons are set free on the town of Greendale, Maryland. [Jack Black, Odeya Rush] [Filmed: April 2014; release date: August 7, 2015]
Kitchen Sink (Comedy/Horror) - Vampires, humans and zombies used to get along in Dillford, but then something unexpected arrived and now it's humans vs. vampires vs. zombies in all-out mortal combat. It's up to three teenagers to try to get things back to "normal." [Vanessa Hudgens, Ed Westwick, Bob Odenkirk, Joan Cusack] [Filmed: August 2013; release date: January 9, 2015]
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (Comedy) - Security guard Paul Blart is headed to Las Vegas to attend a Security Guard Expo with his teenage daughter Maya before she departs for college. While at the convention, he inadvertently discovers a heist - and it's up to Blart to apprehend the criminals. [Kevin James, D.B. Woodside, Gary Valentine] [Filmed: April 2014; release date: April 17, 2015]
Pixels (Comedy/Sci-fi) - Video game experts are recruited by the military to fight 1980s-era video game characters who've attacked New York. [Adam Sandler, Michelle Monaghan Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad, Sean Bean, Kevin James, Jane Krakowski, Chris Columbus] [Filmed: May 2014; release date: July 24, 2015]
Untitled Cameron Crowe Project (Comedy) - A celebrated military contractor returns to the site of his greatest career triumphs and re-connects with a long-ago love while unexpectedly falling for the hard-charging Air Force watchdog assigned to him. [Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bradley Copper, Bill Murray, Jay Baruchel, John Krasinski, Alec Baldwin, Danny McBride] [Filmed: December 2013; release date: TBA]
Plans of Trust (Drama) -The story of a dad and his daughter who must learn to trust each other, before it's too late. [Ted Perez, Linda Hannah] [Filmed: September 2013; release date: January 16, 2015]
The Wedding Ringer (Comedy) - Doug needs a best man, in the worst way. Jimmy is the best friend money can buy. But sometimes when you buy a friend, there's a price to be paid. [Kaley Cuoco, Josh Gad, Kevin Hart] [Filmed: September 2013; release date: January 16, 2015]
Sony Pictures Classics
Aloft (Drama) - Aloft tells of a struggling mother who encounters the son she abandoned 20 years earlier. [Jennifer Connelly, Cillian Murphy, Mélanie Laurent] [Filmed: March 2013; release date: TBA]
Coming Home (Drama) - Lu and Feng are a devoted couple forced to separate when Lu is arrested and sent to a labor camp as a political prisoner during the Cultural Revolution. He finally returns home only to find that his beloved wife no longer remembers him. [Li Gong, Daoming Chen] [Foreign import - release date: TBA]
Infinitely Polar Bear (Comedy) - A manic-depressive mess of a father tries to win back his wife by attempting to take full responsibility of their two young, spirited daughters, who don't make the overwhelming task any easier. [Zoe Saldana, Mark Ruffalo] [Filmed: April 2013; release date: January 15, 2015]
Jimmy’s Hall (Drama) - Political activist Jimmy Gralton is deported from Ireland during the country's 'Red Scare' of the 1930s. [Foreign import - release date: TBA]
Labyrinth of Lies (Drama) - A story that exposes the conspiracy of prominent German institutions and government branches to cover up the crimes of Nazis during World War II. [Foreign import - release date: TBA]
Leviathan (Drama) - In a Russian coastal town, Kolya is forced to fight the corrupt mayor when he is told that his house will be demolished. He recruits a lawyer friend, Dmitri to help. But the man's arrival brings further misfortune for Kolya and his family. [Foreign import - release date: TBA]
Merchants of Doubt (Documentary) - A documentary that looks at pundits-for-hire who present themselves as scientific authorities as they speak about topics like toxic chemicals, pharmaceuticals and climate change. [Robert Kenner] [Release date: TBA]
The Salt of the Earth (Documentary) - For the last 40 years, the photographer Sebastião Salgado has been travelling through the continents, in the footsteps of an ever-changing humanity. He has witnessed some of the major events of our recent history; international conflicts, starvation and exodus. He is now embarking on the discovery of pristine territories, of wild fauna and flora, and of grandiose landscapes as part of a huge photographic project which is a tribute to the planet's beauty. [Foreign import - release date: TBA]
Red Army (Documentary) - Red Army is a feature documentary about the Soviet Union and the most successful dynasty in sports history: the Red Army hockey team. Told from the perspective of its captain Slava Fetisov, the story portrays his transformation from national hero to political enemy. [Foreign import - release date: January 23, 2015]
Saint Laurent (Biopic) - Yves Saint Laurent's life from 1967 to 1976, during which time the famed fashion designer was at the peak of his career. [Gaspard Ulliel, Jeremie Renier] [Foreign import - release date: TBA]
Wild Tales (Comedy/Drama) - A story about love deception, the return of the past, a tragedy, or even the violence contained in an everyday detail, appear themselves to push them towards the abyss, into the undeniable pleasure of losing control. [Liliana Ackerman, Luis Manuel Atamirano Garcia] [Foreign import - release date: February 20, 2015]
Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions
The End of the Tour (Drama) - A magazine reporter recounts his travels and conversations with author David Foster Wallace during a promotional book tour. [Anna Chlumsky, Jason Segel, Jesse Eisenberg] [Filmed: February 2014; release date: TBA]
The Walk (Drama) - The story of French high-wire artist Philippe Petit's attempt to cross the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974. [Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley] [Filmed: May 2014; release date: October 2, 2015]