Wolverine may be immune to many things but Internet piracy apparently isn’t one of them. This may seem like an obvious April Fools joke, but rest assure it’s not. As of last night, one of the summer’s most anticipated films was leaked online in what appears to be a workprint, near DVD quality copy. That’s right, no shaky cameras, back of people’s heads, or crying babies. Various versions are also being duplicated and shared using the originally leaked source as we speak. By the end of the week we predict that several XviD copies would be available for viewing and downloading online, spreading like a virus.
In the mist of an economic downturn where studios are laying people off and DVD sales have hit rock bottom, this leak could potentially be the final straw. Not since a workprint leak of Ang Lee’s Hulk has another movie been leaked this close to its release date. This is, in any scenario, catastrophic for 20th Century Fox, and undoubtedly will hurt the film, if not slash its opening weekend figures in half.
This makes Wolverine and studio heads cry.
But more importantly, this means by opening weekend (May 1st), those who have been waiting to watch this movie will probably already have. Whether it’s from an Internet download, Internet stream, borrowed from a friend, or bought on a custom DVD at some shady flea market… The genie’s now out of the bottle, and no amount of damage control and lawsuit slapping is going to get the genie back in.