A gargantuan new hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment is revealing an almost unfathomable amount of sensitive insider information, from countless social security numbers to embarrassing salary data. And we just came across this: a giant list of workplace complaints.
The full trove will take a long time to sift through, but for now, here's this: a plain, unencrypted text file innocuously titled "Sony_2012_Comments." Inside is what looks like a raw dump of negative employee feedback. None of it is tied to any particular employee, so it's impossible to determine where one man's griping begins and another's ends, but it makes it clear there's plenty of unhappiness at the struggling studio, even if it hadn't been hacked to hell and back. Above all: people who work at Sony are fucking tired of bad Adam Sandler movies.
Below are some highlights of a very, very long file (all emphasis added):
Need to improve the creative staff in Motion Pictures. Seems like we just reboot old product instead of coming up with new ideas like the Hunger Games. We need new fresh ideas that can drive franchise product. Go out and hire the best.
Be more focussed and ruthless in directing our resources to businesses that will sustain the long term health of SPE - networks, broadcast TV shows, new movie franchises, digital distibution By the same token, stop or reduce support for areas that have no more value (Sandler movies, DVD)
There is a general "blah-ness" to the films we produce. Althought we manage to produce an innovative film once in awhile, Social Network, Moneyball, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, we continue to be saddled with the mundane, formulaic Adam Sandler films. Let's raise the bar a little on the films we produce, and inspire employees that they are working on the next Social Network. That said, there's a strange dichotomy of encouraging us to be fiscally responsible, but then upper management allows certain talent and filmmakers to bleed us dry with their outlandish requests for private jets, wardrobe and grooming stylists - and are surprised when they are asked to work more than 5 hours to promote their film.
In TV and Theatrical, I hope management looks closely at the money spent on development and term deals to ensure efficiency. There are a lot of term deal personnel as well as creative personnel, yet we only release a dozen or so Columbia Pictures a year, for example. And will we still be paying for Adam Sandler? Why?
It is commenable that SPE understands/supports the importance of risk-taking, particularly in how the we pick films to greenlight. However, the studio needs to change deal structure that has been in place with Happy Madison, as this arrangement has disproportionately benefitted Adam Sandler and his team, relative to SPE.
Perhaps it's a generational thing, but I've been disappointed with the content of some of the films we've been producing lately. I don't think people who know me would consider me a prude, but the boorish, least common demomonator slate strikes me as a waste of resource and reputation. "I think the mirror should be tilted slightly upward when it`s reflecting life — toward the cheerful, the tender, the compassionate, the brave, the funny, the encouraging, all those things — and not tilted down to the gutter part of the time, into the troubled vistas of conflict." Greer Garson 1990 I think that quote could be adapted to apply to the base elements of some of the films we produce.
In order to be the top studio, Sony needs to not release dark movies (i.e. Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) around the holiday season. No one wants to see a film like Girl (which is a great film by the way) around the holiday season.
Are you aware that Men In Black 3 may gross $600M at the box office, and yet will lose money for SPE? Shouldn't we question that strategy? Why are some studios making Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Twilight - and we are considering movies like Moneyball, Steve Jobs story, Captain Phillips Story, Evel Knievel story, etc. Are you aware that SPE only has 1 franchise - Spiderman. Yet, it took 5 years to generate a sequel? Spidey 3 was released in summer 2007, #4 in 2012. Don't harry potters come out over 2-3 years? Are you aware that SPE has only 1 franchise - Spidey? Yet we waited 5 years after Spidey 3 (2007) to release #4? Have you read the SEC annual report? Disney will make $300M on Spidey merchandise this year alone. We won't!
We do not seem to be doing new or original ideas anymore unless they come from term deal players. Remakes, sequels, and movies which are better off being E True Hollywood stories, should be left by the side of the road. Our development execs should focus on new fresh material, and not be permitted to simply remake another money.
Moving a major work force to foreign countries is taking job opportunities away from lots of employees at Sony Pictures Imageworks. Families are separated, people are forced to leave the country, and workers don't have any hopes in their future with the company any more. It is sad to see that the company doesn't care about us at all.
Stop making the same, safe, soul-less movies and TV shows. Enough with the re-makes and reboots. Breaking Bad and Community are just about the most artful and innovative gems we currently have
This comment about the strength of SPE's IT department stands out:
@I work in IT and while I feel we have a very strong CIO (stringest in 9 years that I have been here at SPE) that is doing a good job. The next level of management below the CIO needs some work. They don't even seem to get along.
As mentioned, there are tens of thousands of files to check out, including private memos, executive expense reports, details of sexual harassment, unreleased scripts (including a "Beverly Hills Cop" TV remake and new Vince Gilligan series), movie launch talking points, and much, much more. Stay tuned.