The Wolverine Movie Leak: Truth And Consequences

Published 6 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:24 pm,

dvd piracy 02 The Wolverine Movie Leak: Truth And Consequences

Just in case you had’nt heard, on the eve of April Fools Day a workprint of X-Men Origins: Wolverine found its way to the internet and hundreds of thousands of downloads occurred before 20th Century Fox could stop it. Though at first one might think “So what?” – there’s more at stake than just having a flick run free on the internet prior to its official release date.

When I first saw this, I held back. It was April Fool’s day. But as the hours passed, so did the proof that this was indeed real.

I shook my head in disbelief.

How Can A Movie Get Leaked?

Does that really matter? There are so many different people that handle a DVD of a movie in post-production before it hits the theaters, it’s amazing we don’t see this more often.

With the number of folk who have access to a post-production version of a movie, when do the necessary additional security measures kick in that studios may have to take? Will those measures cost us, the fan, more in the end?

Sure we might grumble at the studios, but who is really to blame?

Have You Thought About the Little Guy?

I suppose that for some, the idea of seeing a movie before it’s actually released to the public is some sort of thrill (or something). While these folks gloat about having seen a film early (and illegally), I’m sure they don’t think about the impact their cumulative actions have on others.

The “others” are those people who put in 10 to 14 hour days over the course of a couple of years creating a movie. The “others” are also the second tier people who depend on a film to be released for their livelihoods… Movie theater owners/employees, for example.

For all these people, an advance pirate copy that makes it online dilutes the hard work they’ve put into something, and takes away from the “event” status of a big blockbuster release date. A release date that has had many countless hours of effort put towards deciding how to best present the culmination of all that hard work.

As this travesty went viral, was aflame with people stating that the Wolverine movie had found its way to the internet.

Some cheered at the travesty thrust upon Fox. I get where you’re coming from. Fox sure doesn’t have the best track record in how they’ve handled some franchises or other matters. But if you think this through, it’s just not Fox that gets hurt. It’s shameful to ponder the idea that we might really wish harm on a person’s livelihood.

So the buzz lit up big time.

Shortly thereafter folks were out there boasting about having grabbed some popcorn and sitting down to watch their newly stolen digital media.

Yes… I Said Stolen

If you go to the trouble of hunting down what you know is an illegal copy of the film, you knowingly stole it. And don’t tell me you didn’t know. To add insult to thievery, some of you were stupid enough to brag about it on various social networking sites. Good for you! Now at least if Fox and the FBI decide to pursue this legal issue to that level, you’ve made it very easy for them to find you. Even if you didn’t brag about it, you left a digital trail to the torrent files and subsequent activity is clear as day to the packet sniffers.

As it stands, the copy of the film that made its way online did not have the majority of its visual effects complete, had missing scenes and a temporary audio/music track. So I’m sure that made for an AWESOME viewing experience.

Some Actually Posted Reviews

To further implicate yourselves, you then thought you would be super cool and leave your reviews and opinions on what you saw on various bulletin boards and websites. Most website admins removed your misbegotten opinions, choosing instead to take the high road regarding this scenario. Good for them.

dvd piracy 03b The Wolverine Movie Leak: Truth And Consequences

Fox stated in a press release on April 1st that the FBI and the MPAA are actively investigating this crime and that:

“The source of the initial leak and any subsequent postings will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Oh yes. This little stunt can lead to some jail time. I have a feeling someone may find themselves with some new best friends fairly soon.

When All Is Said And Done

It seems that it may be pretty easy to track down who did this. Maybe instead of firing him or her, the studio should garnish their wages for all eternity for profits lost.

If you think it really doesn’t hurt studios, think of this: Eli Roth didn’t release Hostel: Part II in Mexico because it was already leaked there and you could buy it for twenty-five cents. What was the point of opening there then?

You think that if you alone “stole” a movie, who would it hurt? It adds up. One of my favorite examples of adding up is an article I wrote about saving electricity. If every light switch wielding person (estimated 211 million – it’s just a ball park for this example) in the U.S. left a light bulb burning in an empty room for only 5 minutes, as a collective, that adds up to around 2,000 years of wasted energy. It all adds up and we can make a difference.

In closing, Fox said this:

“We are encouraged by the support of fansites condemning piracy and this illegal posting and pointing out that such theft undermines the enormous efforts of the filmmakers and actors and, above all, hurts fans of the film”

We at Screen Rant will never support this kind of behavior and we will not tolerate anyone posting their own review or experience in the comments.

‘Nuff said?

Source: BBC News

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  1. Looking down on piracy is nice and all, but that is the reality of the new world we live in where old business models cannot rely on things they did before.

    It is entirely possible as well, that this leak was a plant by fox themselves. The people that are interested (and willing) to sit down and watch an unfinished print are also the ones that will go to the theatre to watch the finished copy.

    This isnt a dvd rip or anything like that, this comes from the inside, and one has to be curious as to how that could actually happen.

    All this has done is get the movie more media attention as I heard the movie mentioned this morning on 3 different radio stations.

    A bit of guerrilla style viral marketing? Hard to tell, but its entirely possible.

  2. I’ve seen your theory on FOX being the one that released this unfinished cut of WOLVERINE.

    Yes, it more than likely could be from the inside. Like I noted earlier, so many people have access to a movie in post-production that it’s amazing this doesn’t happen more often!

    I think this is too much of a release, almost the entire movie, to be a viral campaign.

    But tell ya what! If they catch and prosecute a person for this, then we’ll know for sure.

    Thanks for dropping a note with us DUDESON.


  3. if fox leaked the footage to generate buzz for the film, then why is the studio contact the fbi about this?

  4. “There are so many different people that handle a DVD of a movie in post-production before it hits the theaters, it’s amazing we don’t see this more often.”

    I think the fact that Fox are working with the FBI to figure out how this happened so an appropriate punishment could be given is reason enough as to why this doesn’t happen a lot. I should assume that anyone hired to handle the movie in any way before release would have to sign a confidentiality contract or otherwise that would tell them what they’d be liable for should they be responsible for the movie getting out.

    The fact is, the last person caught facilitating the leak of a major release is still in jail now (or so I’ve read on other sites covering this story), so really, I’m surprised this happened with Wolverine at all.

    As for this maybe being done by Fox themselves in order to create buzz seems a little unlikely, if only because of the risk involved of having a lot of negative reviews turning people off (especially since completed effects and an actual score can make all the difference between a good movie and a bad one and a lot of bootleggers may not take that into account should they base their reviews off of this copy).

    I also disagree with the idea that the only people downloading the unfinished copy are the same people who will be going to see it in the cinema anyway. Most people who download films illegally are the people who don’t generally care enough about the film and are simply curious (but not curious enough to pay for a movie ticket). Even though this is incomplete, for most of the downloaders, it will be curiosity, or the thrill of having seen the movie before everyone else, rather than just fandom or otherwise.

  5. Maybe I’d feel bad for “the little guy” if they weren’t charging me $12 to watch 90 minute movies and another $12 for popcorn and soda. Is any movie worth spending $25 on to see once? No. Until Hollywood starts giving me a reason to start going to theaters again (3-D movies are a good start) and theater owners stop price gouging their customers while paying their employees minimum wage, they can all, well, you get the point.

  6. “Looking down on piracy is nice and all, but that is the reality of the new world we live in where old business models cannot rely on things they did before.”

    What? So theft is justified if it’s just “digital?” Theft is theft, unless of course you’re a fan of moral relativism. I suppose from a that view you can justify anything…

    This was NOT “viral.”


  7. “X-Men Origins Wolverine” would suck as a work print, who would want to watch/review that?

    I’m betting there’s more too this leak as the Director was unhappy with the studio altering his cut of the film…
    Having this come out on April Fools day is also “NOT” a coincidence… (Its a loop-hole)

  8. Didnt it come out the day before April 1st? And it doesnt matter if a movie costs 12 dollars and then they charge you extra for food. Its their right. Thats the dumbest excuse for illegally downloading a film(actually, there are no excuses) I love BMW’s but i hate the fact that they are soooo expensive, does that make it ok for me to steal one? Hell no, no matter how much movie tickets are theres no excuse for downloading a film illegally. Good post Bruce, and good job ScreenRant for not tolerating this. This is the only website i can go to now cuz all the other websites are full of comments with people posting their “reviews” of the film.

  9. No. It just means that you are looking at things as if this world was still 1979. No need for a hostile response.

    Piracy is looked at as something extremely negative like some communist propaganda. Here we are, 10 years after piracy went mainstream, and the monster that TDK was just left theatres a month or two ago. People will go to the theatre if they want to see the movie, the big screen experience is a service that is being paid for. This whole argument that a downloaded item is a robbery and a lost sale is not accurate.

    Piracy should be looked at as a marketing sampling tool that will land you customers in the long run. Not as this criminal propaganda aimed at maintaining old forced business models that are turning obsolete and cannot hold in the new world.

    If you can prove to me right now beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was not viral then of course I will believe you.

  10. @ Mahoney

    If you don’t like how much it costs to watch a movie in a theater, do what the law-abiding bunch of us here do and wait for it to come out on video. If I don’t want to spend ANY money on it, I wait until a friend wants to watch it enough to rent it and I simply watch it with him/her. There are plenty of LEGAL ways to watch a movie for cheap or free.

  11. “Piracy should be looked at as a marketing sampling tool that will land you customers in the long run.”

    I freaking LOVE this! Ab-so-lutely LOVE IT. That’s just f***ing brilliant. Maybe I can go down to my local Chevy dealer and “sample” a new Corvette… I’m just “helping” with the marketing.

    Theft is NOT a business model. And just because “everybody is doing it” doesn’t make it right.

    Welcome to the Brave New World, folks. George Orwell was a genius.


  12. @Mahoney

    Can’t argue much with you, the distribution system is very unequitable to theater owners. Studios get the lion’s share of profits in the first couple of weeks, with theaters getting a progressively higher percentage each succeeding week. So when a movie has a killer opening weekend, theaters don’t benefit much.

    That’s why they have to charge exhorbitant prices for popcorn, candy and drinks. Costs a lot of money to put in digital projection systems and maintain a megaplex.


  13. Oh, and sorry, I missed your final statement – if it was viral, do you really think they’d release a working print with temp music/soundtrack, green screens and stunt wiring/harnesses?

    And I guess the press releases about the FBI are just more “viral marketing.”


  14. The only people for whom piracy is a viable business model are the *pirates – the rest of us get screwed over for it. They’re the reason we fans, the true “little guys” in this mess, are having to fork out $12+ to see a damned movie. Piracy went up, ticket prices went up, dvd prices went up – it’s a cascading effect as everyone tries to catch up on some of their lost profits that smacks down on the fans like a smegging avalanche.

  15. Dude who thinks it’s OK to steal: If you do have issues with the $12 per ticket, get 1 or 2 friends, everyone pitch in $3 and that pays for On Demand and popcorn or whatever.

    Support the system. The reason things cost $12 is to compensate for this very mentality. And the more folk do it, the higher the cost will go.

    Just brilliant… hey Vic, I’m comin’ with you to check out a Viper. Sounds good to me.

  16. this bound to happen eventually but i didnt think it would happen a month before release. I mean, cmon Fox – stay on top of things. oh well, I’ll still see it in the theater even though I’ve heard bad things from the leak. and what they did with deadpool! wow!

  17. when the FBI is done with that maybe they could get back to finding binladin

  18. JD5DAD,

    the FBI has a large number of branches that deal w/ different kinds of federal crimes, computer crime is one branch thats hunts down hackers and pirated movies, its not like the FBI is on this one case

  19. Regardless of the ethics of piracy, I just don’t understand why people would want to see an unfinished film. It would be like reading a book with 10% of the pages missing or eating a cake before it’s done baking. Movies are art, good or bad. The version that was leaked is not art yet, it’s nothing. I’m not tempted to watch it in the least.

    I also don’t think that this is a viral marketing stunt. It’s got to be a disgruntled employee or someone recently laid off.

    I’m hopeful that this leak won’t hurt the movie that much in the long run. I don’t think the vast majority of people know how to download a full-length movie. Actually, most people I know barely know how to use email!

  20. I get a kick out of the whining crybabies. OOooooohh it is stealing. Give me a break. I never had any intention of going to see the movie, and now that I have seen it I might just go to see what it looks like finished. Now, does the studio incorporate that into their figures of lost money due to piracy? Doubtful. I do not like going to movies often because people are rude, prices are out of control to pay the overpaid actors and I would hate to waste money on a movie that sucks. As far as the ridiculous car analogies that make no sense..Are you that brain dead that you forget YOU ARE ABLE TO TEST DRIVE CARS? DUH.. I get to look and drive the car and test drive it before I take it off the lot. If I do not like the movie, I am out the money. If I do not like the car I return it, no questions asked. This crap about stealing is ridiculous. If someone gives me the movie it is not stealing…this argument is lame. The studios are not losing any money if I watch the movie pirated, with having no intentions of seeing it in the theater. Oh and by the way, the wolverine movie sucked…and I am glad I did not waste a dime on it. It does not matter if it did not have the CGI in it as the CGI will not help it anyway. So to the goody two shoes out there, quit crying and when hollywood puts out a movie I plan on wasting 2 hours of my life watching and paying 12 bucks for then I might go back…I saw the Dark Knight in theaters and with an illegal copy and still bought the blu-ray version…listening to the crybabies here are probably the same ones that recorded songs off the radio with a tape player and enjoyed them and now they are crying foul when the same things are being done on the internet….BOO HOO….

  21. That’s another thing, don’t forget that they did some reshoots for Deadpool, I’m pretty sure does scenes weren’t in the leaked movie. So just ignore what you hear about Deadpool for now

  22. why don’t they get more people in trouble for downloading things illegally. iv talked to or wrote to more than 100 for sure illegal downloaders, whether it be in person,the internet, or heard people talking about it. and Ive never talked to someone, or heard someone who has gotten in trouble for downloading. my point is probably about .05% of downloaders get in trouble for what they’ve done, and apparently its easy to catch the downloaders so why don’t they get more people in trouble. I think it should be like 10% of the downloaders get put in jail or fined for what theyve done.

  23. The car analogies dont make sense to you Jerry? That’s what happens when your an idiot, the test drive would be the movie trailers. You just made some really dumb excuses for doing something illegal, it’s funny cuz people who steal at stores or who break into peoples houses probably have the same mindset as yours. They make excuses for what they do because they think it’s ok. The bottom line is that mo matter what you think, it’s illegal according to the law. Hopefully the FBI do their job right and catch idiots like you. Oh yea it’s also funny how you say that because of it you are interested in watching it at a theatre but at the end you say how it sucked lol

  24. First of all, anybody downloading a movie is not stealing anything. They are violating the licensing terms on the distribution of a film. You can’t “steal” something without inflicting an actual loss. Downloaders are infringers, not thieves. You can try and shame and point fingers all you want. It doesn’ t change the facts, or the law. Comparing deliberately depriving someone of their physical goods to, in the majority of cases, unknowingly violating the terms of an implied legal agreement. A legal agreement that isn’t even binding in many places because of the egregiously unfair manner in which copyright has been legislated in the USA. So, try again on that argument. It’s ignorant and deceptive.

    The movie industry exists as it does because it enjoyed a complete monopoly on distribution of its product. It doesn’t benefit from this monolopy any longer. The studios contue to operate as if they are still part of a distribution monopoly. What studios don’t seem to be able to comprehend is that they no longer control consumers. You can’t create “an event” unless you dictate the terms of viewership, and with today’s technology this is impossible. A studio can no longer tell viewers where, when or how they are going to watch a movie.

    Downloaders are not the problem. The studios are the problem. Perhaps if they would think creatively instead of crying and trying to shame people they’d be better off. You talk about potential loss of revenue because of downloads. So for every download that’s a loss of a ticket? BS, come on. That’s a ridiculous claim.

    Instead of looking at “losses inflicted” looks at “potential profits wasted”. Why? Because studios utterly refuse to embrace their competing channel of distribution! Studios choose to lose profits by refusing to release films in a variety of formats with realistic pricing. The guy who downloads a movie may not be willing to drive an hour to the theater and then pay $12 to $16 to watch it, but he might be willing to pay a dollar or two to download a low-rez avi file from a high-bandwidth pipe to watch on his PC. He might be willing to pay 5 or even 10 dollars for a 1080p HD ISO. But we’ll never know because the studios are willfully ignorant. They would rather run themselves out of business than accept the fact that they can no longer arbitrarily set prices and profits. The movie industry is going to change, no matter what. Right now they are operating on borrowed time because their profits in the past were a direct result of their vanished monolopy on distribution.

    Also trying to pretend that so-called “event” movies are some sort of art is insulting. We’re not that stupid. I’m certain this was an overproduced, focus-group driven, marketing research determined movie. Studios made decisions not based on artistic merit or the writer’s or director’s vision but on what test audiences and market research indicated were the most “sellable”. Writers, producers, and directors are slaves to the profit projections and their so-called “art” is simply another well-engineered consumer product.

    If movie studios stick with the idea that bringing people to the theaters is the best way to make money then they have to change the theater experience. In the past, simply making a movie would do, because studios held absolute sway over their product. That absolute control is utterly gone now, and the only way for them to survive is to come up with an idea to create an experience that is so compelling that people are obligated to be in the theater to understand it.

    Using this leak as an excuse to go off on a pro-monolopy, anti-consumer rant was idiotic.

  25. my mom got to test drive a 120 thousand dollar Porsche and she didn’t buy it(and that’s true) to go along with the car analogy. Also i know people who have downloaded pre-release movies (star wars episode 3)and then they go see it in the theaters out of respect for the people int that industry. I don’t think that is very bad

  26. from what i heard it was very finished, as in it was enjoyable, not all green screens and wires, it in fact had a lot of the fx in it already. even end cedits scenes. i don’t want to get on a side…but i don’t mind the downloading, its a very modern world and people are getting faster than the law. not just in movies but in many everday situations. it’s not ok and it is illegal but, thats the world. i mean no one i know buys cds people get made fun of for paying when they’re free online. movies are going that way too.

  27. “On a conspiracy pov”,,,,

    This could set an example for others not to pirate or deal with unreleased media… All part of FOX’s ulterior plan to persuade people to follow the rules. ^
    Or what I call, “the
    reach around policy” ,,, :-)
    Market the crap film with controversy.

  28. @hud, it’s very expensive to prosecute someone. It costs the government a lot of money and they can NEVER actually recover the money it cost to prosecute them. That’s why they limit it to only serious offenders. I actually do have a friend who was arrested for downloading and sharing movies on the internet. She had to pay a HUGE fine…

  29. “I freaking LOVE this! Ab-so-lutely LOVE IT. That’s just f***ing brilliant. Maybe I can go down to my local Chevy dealer and “sample” a new Corvette… I’m just “helping” with the marketing.”

    No where in Dudeson’s post did he say piracy was acceptable. I read it as saying that movie studios need to find ways to innovate based on new technology that may threaten the industry, a point I totally agree with. The music industry has been battling the same issue. Also funny how you used the corvette anology, since the american automobile manufacturers are using an outdated business model too. YOur response was way too harsh.

    I like going to a movie theater, but there are only two reasons to go the the theater: 1) the atmosphere and 2) to see the movie when it first released. At $12 per ticket, movies are not a cheap excuse to get out of the house, and now, digital media is a threat. Digital 3D is an example of good innovation, if it becomes popular, even though it will duplicated at home in the near future. Also look at Hulu – at one time NBC threw a fit about SNL clips on YouTube, now they found a way to distribute digitally as a marketing tool.

    When I lived in NYC, bootlegs were on the streets within days of the premier. And now digital distribution makes those available anywhere. I’m not saying it’s right, it’s the truth that it happens and studios have to find a way to circumvent it, becuase it is near impossible to prevent it.

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