X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE Workprint Leaks Online

     April 1, 2009

Written by Matt Goldberg

UPDATE: Fox has issued the following statement in response to the leak:

“Last night, a stolen, incomplete and early version of X-Men Origins: Wolverine was posted illegally on websites. It was without many effects and had missing scenes and temporary sound and music. We immediately contacted the appropriate legal authorities and had it removed. We forensically mark our content so we can identify sources that make it available or download it. The source of the initial leak and any subsequent postings will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law – the courts have handed down significant criminal sentences for such acts and the last person who committed such a crime is still in jail. The FBI and the MPAA also are actively investigating this crime. 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 the fans of the film.”

We thanks Fox for their comments and you can check out the original story below.


NOTE: This is not an April Fool’s joke. We have confirmation from trusted colleagues and we don’t waste time with that noise anyway.

If our coverage of the reshoots of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” was enough to get us blacklisted from 20th Century Fox, I wonder what’s going to happen to the guy that leaked a high-quality workprint of the film online. My guess: death squad.

Yes, according to Drew over at HitFix, “‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ leaked online today in what appears to be a near-finished DVD quality rip, marred only by a few unfinished FX shots.” Fox Legal will do their best to try and shut down any pirates and prosecute anyone who downloads and distributes the film, but while they’re at it, they may want to get the Earth to stop orbiting the Sun because this is the Internet and once something’s done, it cannot be undone. We also like cats with bad grammar.

Of course, the bigger question is will piracy affect the film’s opening weekend? And we’re not talking about some guy using his camera phone to tape this off a monitor in an editing studio. According to Drew, “there’s no timecode, no watermark… nothing. It’s a clean, perfect copy. Someone did that on purpose.” So is piracy really as bad as all that? We’ve been told by the MPAA that it’s worse than cancer and that you may as well shoot the key grip in the face if you choose to download a movie illegally. Lord knows we’re all reminded about it every time we have the audacity to play a movie we bought legally and have to sit through that fucking PSA.

I’m not really sure what happens next. Does Fox try to adjust their predictions for the film’s opening weekend? What’s the over/under on piracy? $5 million? $20 million? Nothing? And how do you know that piracy is to blame for the film’s box office? Does a weak opening weekend mean that the film was heavily pirated and folks chose to stay home and watch it on their computers or was the marketing unconvincing? If the film doesn’t have legs, does that mean they made a movie so good that people are going to pirate it or is it that they just want to see “Star Trek” that weekend instead? Finally, what are the repercussions within all studios as far as piracy is concerned? How do you stop this from happening and why hasn’t it happened before?

On a personal note, I don’t endorse piracy. We’re not fans of 20th Century Fox right now (for obvious reasons), but if you’re too cheap to shell out ten bucks for a movie (and yeah, it is expensive, especially when you consider the twenty minutes of ads coupled with inconsiderate fellow patrons) or too impatient to wait four months for the DVD, then you’re not someone I want to know. You don’t love movies; you don’t love the business that makes movies. You just love yourself and instant gratification, in which case, may I suggest porn instead of “Wolverine”.

Click here to leave the pirating to those that sail ships and get scurvy. “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” hits theatres on May 1st. If you’re going to see it, wait till then.

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