Producers of the upcoming James Bond film Spectre report that an “early version” of the script has been nicked. Eon Productions, the producers of the film have confirmed that a cyber-attack was made on the computer system at Sony Pictures Entertainment Studio in November.
Known in the industry as one of the more import and lucrative franchises ever studio executives are deeply concerned. From the first screen adaptations of Ian Fleming’s popular James Bond novels in 1954 on American television to the 2012 iteration Skyfall, the James Bond movie industry has been booming.
With the latest installment due to hit the theaters in November of next year, producers are scrambling. The fear is that hackers with malicious intent will seek to publish the full script online. Sony studio brass have encouraged those behind the theft and those that might gain access to its contents to consider that the script is protected by U.K. copyright laws with the not-so-veiled threat that the company will put the full force of its assets into defending their right of ownership.
The hackers apparently forced access into a range of other proprietary documentary information and as opportunity presented itself, nicked the upcoming James Bond film script. While it is believed that North Korea is behind the cyber-theft North Korean officials deny any participation. They did however tacitly encourage ongoing cyber-crime and the targeting of Sony Pictures. They praised the recent attack as, among other things, a “righteous deed.” North Korean officials have taken recent umbrage at a Sony film that put the North Korean leader in a bad light.
The Bond franchise has been an enormously successful one. The last Bond film Skyfall brought Sony Pictures an estimated 1.1 billion US dollars worldwide. Because of the enormous financial windfall that the films provide, this latest cyber-theft is of deep concern. The upcoming Spectre is hugely over budget and in line to become among the most expensive movies ever made. Current projections put the film at roughly the 300 million dollar mark, leaving the studio to scramble to cut costs. Their hope is to bring the overhead into the mid 250 million mark.
Now with the possibility of the script being published on-line, the stakes have become even larger. Studio executives deny that the theft of the script has shut down early production and filming begun this month. Robert Lawson, a studio representative said that “Productions are still moving forward” and these without thought of disruption. If there were a stoppage of production, Sony Studios could expect to see the already high cost of production begin to skyrocket.
Daniel Craig is set to reprise his role as 007 while the film is poised for a November 6, 2015 release. Vested interests including a cult-like followings of both the Ian Fleming book series by the same name as well as hopeful movie fans are hopeful that whoever nicked the upcoming James Bond film script will prove a roughly less equivalent threat as the evil masterminds in the Bond series intent on wreaking havoc on their way to world domination.
By Matthew R. Fellows
Photo By: Nabi Yucel Flickr License