By now you probably are aware of the massive hack of Sony's servers that caused the company to make all sorts of unwanted headlines. In addition to some unfavorable opinions of celebrities, the emails executives have been exchanging have been discussing potential future film productions - be it loaning Spider-Man to Marvel Studios, crossing 21 Jump Street over with Men in Black, or a potential cast for their all-female Ghostbusters reboot.
It's all fine and well that the higher-ups are talking about some new movies to produce, but in order to roll the cameras, the studio needs to be able to foot the bill. The hacking scandal has now made it difficult to do that, leading to the suspension of film shoots as Sony looks to reorganize and get their feet back on the ground.
The report comes courtesy of The Times, which states that the computer problems that arose following the incident have left the studio unable to process payments pertaining to film production costs. This has caused agencies in charge of filming upcoming Sony projects to temporarily pull the plug, as they wait for the computers to get back online.
It should be noted that the Times article did not specify which productions (or if all movies) were being impacted by the move, so at this point it's impossible to say if impending tentpoles like Spectre (the new James Bond film that just started principle photography) are at a standstill for the time being. There's a chance they are, but the status of individual films is unknown for now.
However, this is a little larger than the 24th James Bond film potentially being delayed a bit. The server hack has left Sony in shambles, and they face a long road ahead to a complete recovery. According to security researchers, it would cost the company 64 million British pounds (roughly $100.5 million) to rectify the situation, which is a pretty penny for a studio that lost a substantial amount of money in 2013. They need to come up with that in addition to their regular operating expenses, which won't be easy.
There's also no timetable for when this mess will be cleaned up, which is another aspect that is quite troubling. That would make it difficult for Sony filmmakers to maintain some kind of order for their production schedules, which theoretically could cause some talents to move to other films while they wait for the financing to reappear - throwing Sony's entire slate (see it here) in jeopardy. The onus is on them to quickly amend all of the issues that the hack produced.
The prevailing uncertainty surrounding the Spider-Man series seems like small potatoes when compared to a crisis as large as this. Anyone can handle prints of films leaking out over the Internet (something that happened to Fox's X-Men: Origins Wolverine), but Sony will now have to work overtime just to get their current movies back off the ground and try to repair the damaged professional relationships that have emerged so that they can remain an active player in the film industry.
If there is a silver lining to all this, it's that "only" five of the films Sony has on the docket are currently classified as "filming" on IMDb, which means that this development may not hurt as many films as one might think. That said, we can't say for sure if the suspension has had an effect on the various projects Sony has in post-production (can they pay film editors?) and we'd have to assume that the ones in pre-production are being put on the shelf until the problem is solved.
Either way, it's a massive task Sony executives have ahead of them. Hopefully, they can get back on track soon.
We'll keep you updated on the number of Sony productions as more information becomes available.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.
Source: The Times