Uh oh! Fox’s first big summer film, the X-Men origins movie Wolverine, has been leaked online.
The leaked version is reportedly a DVD-quality rip of the film minus a few special-effects shots and possibly some of the reshoots director Gavin Hood did this fall. Fox is understandably combing the Internet for every copy and taking them down as they find them, but now that the movie’s out there, there’s not much they can do.
This summer was supposed to be a comeback season for Fox, which had a rough summer last year, and Wolverine was supposed to be its first big hit. But, unfortunately, now the film will also serve as a practical test of how much piracy can hurt Hollywood’s bottom line.
As Slashfilm points out, it’s rare that a high-profile film leaks onto the Internets ahead of its big-screen debut:
This is perhaps the biggest leak for a major tentpole release in recent memory. Leaving aside the well-known phenomenon of Oscar screener leaks, workprint leaks have certainly happened in the past. For example, Eli Roth’s Hostel 2 leaked onto the internet several weeks before its release (in that situation, Roth was furious and blamed the leak for the film’s weak box office performance). Other films such as Rob Zombie’s Halloween and Michael Moore’s Sicko also experienced similar issue.
It’s likely this early release will have a major impact on Wolverine‘s opening weekend box office unless the film gets amazing reviews, both from critics and those who see the leaked version, or Fox can either convince people the pirated copy is missing key scenes or fulfil the impossible task of erasing every copy.
Drew Mc Weeny at Hitfix writes, “The exact demographic who would open this movie is savvy enough to have the film on their hard-drives right now if they want it. And if they hate what they see, I can’t imagine they’re going to pay to see it again when it opens.”
He also thinks the leak was an inside job from a disgruntled staffer based on the clean, perfect copy (no watermarks or anything).
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