Just when it seems like Fox had cleverly diffused the PR nightmare of the Wolverine leak, a fresh scandal is brewing. Despite Fox CEO Tom Rothman’s insistence that the final cut would be different from the pirated copy, reports are emerging that the theatrical version is identical to the cut that was leaked—minus some special effects work and music.
This is bad. It seemed like Fox had recovered from the leak scandal: interest in the pirated copy was waning as people decided they still wanted to see the movie in theatres. The tracking for the movie is strong and early ticket sales on movietickets.com are outpacing Iron Man at a rate of three-to-one at the same point in both films’ cycles. Those additional tickets should help opening weekend, but it seemed like a lot of the interest in seeing the film, even among those who viewed the pirated copy, was to see what was different in the final version. Those who watched the pirated copy were hopeful the movie released to theatres would be different, and it seemed like a lot of that hope came from Fox’s insistence that the final version had tons of additional footage.
Rothman told Entertainment Weekly shortly after the film leaked, “The version that went out is unfinished. It’s about 10 minutes shorter, doesn’t have key scenes, it wasn’t edited, and none of the effects shots were in any remotely final form.” Subsequent statements from studio heads expanded upong the same party lines.
Now, Ain’t It Cool News has seen the theatrical version and says that Rothman, and the other Fox execs, lied.
The finished version is not only as long as the workprint (107 minutes, for those of you keeping score), AICN reports, but “the workprint version IS in fact identical to the release print, sans effect and some audio work.”
We haven’t seen either version, but if this is the case, then Fox is in trouble. Now not only are all of the bad reviews of the workprint version justified, but the studio’s been caught in a lie—which weakens the trust audiences have in the studio, and might lead to more people watching pirated versions of Fox’s films, including Wolverine, which is still floating around online.
Hat tip to Slashfilm for alerting us to this story.
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