At least five new movies from Sony Pictures are being devoured on copyright-infringing file-sharing hubs online in the wake of the hack attack that hobbled the studio earlier in the week.
Copies of DVD screeners of four unreleased Sony movies including the upcoming "Annie" are getting some unwelcome early exposure, but nothing compared to the frenzy enveloping "Fury," the war pic still in theaters since bowing last month.
"Fury" has been downloaded by over 888,000 unique IP addresses since showing up on peer-to-peer networks on Nov. 27, according to piracy tracking firm Excipio. That's high enough to be the second most downloaded movie currently being pirated, and it's not out of movie theaters yet.
Another big Sony movie, "Annie," is also being pirated, this one three weeks ahead of its own wide release. Other Sony movies being downloaded include "Mr. Turner," "Still Alice" and "To Write Love on Her Arms." "The theft of Sony Pictures Entertainment content is a criminal matter, and we are working closely with law enforcement to address it," a Sony spokeswoman said in a statement to Variety.
A source with knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the hacking earlier this week divulged that the multi-title leak is likely related to the hacking. Many of the leaked copies are watermarked.
In the attack on the studio's corporate systems Nov. 24, an image of a skeleton appeared on company computers with a message that said, "Hacked by #GOP," with the group behind it calling itself "Guardians of Peace." The message threatened to release "secrets and top secrets" of the company. Currently being investigated is a connection between upcoming Sony movie "The Interview," and North Korea.
Sony's outbreak marks the biggest piracy incident since July, when Lionsgate saw "Expendables 3" pop up online three weeks before its theatrical release. Police arrested two men in London earlier this week in connection with the movie.
While "Fury" has emerged as a hot ticket in file-sharing circles, the other Sony titles aren't seeing as much sampling. "Annie" has been downloaded by over 184,000 unique IP addresses. Studio is hopeful "Annie" won't be pirated as much because family films aren't subject to as much illegal downloading as titles that skew more toward young males.
"Still Alice," "Mr. Turner" and "To Write Love on Her Arms" are seeing only modest piracy activity, all below 100,000 unique IP addresses since Nov. 27.
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