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Hack won't hold back Sony's films, CEO says

Chief exec also estimates that company e-mail will be back online next week, though the entire network likely won't be up and running for another three to six weeks.

"The Interview" was at the center of the Sony hacking scandal. Sony Pictures

The cost of responding to the massive hack on Sony Pictures will in no way "disrupt" the movie studio's ability to pay employees or to keep films on schedule, the CEO said in an interview published Friday.

Regardless, Sony Pictures hasn't returned to normal yet.

Michael Lynton, who is also CEO of parent Sony Entertainment, told Reuters that employees are still without e-mail and without a network. The company's e-mail should be back online next week, he said, though the entire network likely won't be up and running for another three to six weeks.

Sony Pictures was hit hard late last year with a major hack to its network. The hackers, who call themselves Guardians of Peace, leaked yet-unreleased films, inflammatory e-mails between Sony Pictures executives, and threatened violence against theaters that showed "The Interview," a comedy about bumbling journalists trying to assassinate North Korea leader Kim Jong-un.

Sony's responded by taking its entire studio offline, leaving its employees with fax machines and telephones to communicate with the outside world. The studio whittled down the release of "The Interview" to independent theaters and online streaming. According to Reuters, the movie has generated $36 million in sales since its December 24 release. The US government continues to investigate the attack on Sony Pictures and claims that North Korea is behind them.

Lynton declined to pin down exactly who is responsible for the attack, but he did note that the FBI told him that nine out of 10 companies would have fallen at the hands of such a sophisticated attack.

For its part, North Korea denied responsibility for the attack but has said it was pleased by the effort.

Some reports have pinned Sony's cost to overcome the hack as high as $100 million, but Lynton said "it's actually far less than anything anybody is imagining." He also noted that insurance will cover all costs associated with the hack.

Sony Pictures did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.