Thursday, April 2, 2009

Wolverine Leak: Hollywood Confused

x-men wolverine surfaced on bittorrent sites
A high-quality, full-length work print of "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" - the movie is to be released on May 1 - has hit the bit-torrent sites last night.  Not unexpectedly, the film industry's responses have demonstrated how confused they are.

One producer behind another major summer franchise insists that while piracy is a serious problem that needs a "focused and visionary response" from the movie industry, a leak like this may not actually cut that deeply into Wolverine's ticket sales.

Well, what can I say? Although English is not my mother tongue, even I know the difference between piracy and leak: Piracy is done by an outsider by any means necessary, whereas leak is by an insider with a discrete motive. It is somewhat absurd to blame people with piracy when you leak something voluntarily or discretely.

And this comment probably makes all arguments of Hollywood (RIAA) about piracy null and void:

People who are going to download and watch it on their computer were either never going to pay to see it anyway or they're the type of super-fan who was going to go 10 times in the first week. Seeing a spectacle movie like this one on your computer is not the same as seeing with a communal audience, and I don't think this is going to hurt them that much.

Did all those charged with hefty penalties deserve a refund now? You decide.

And here comes the juicy stuff:

On the other hand, a high-ranking theater exhibitor sees much more dire consequences for the franchise. "This is a disaster," he says, referring both to the free downloads resulting from the leak and to the subsequent bad reviews (emphasis mine) making their way around the Web. "It's tens of millions of dollars lost."

This is the crucial part. After all the marketing hype, a leak or piracy helps people see the packaged crap without paying; something that can not be undone.

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Anonymous said...

Wolverine Let Loose Early Via Piracy

Dr.Bruce said...

In my experience, leak like this are often engineered by the company in order boost interest and ultimately boost sales.

Archiver said...

Judiciary report link confirms my suspicion that this is not piracy but a leak by a pissed off employee, a competitor or themselves. It carries an interesting story as well:

"What a double standard. When Madonna criminally sold you the rights for a preexisting copyright ("My Super Ex-Girlfriend"), that belongs to me, which she illegally accessed and has no rights to, that you bought, fully aware of this fact and exploited for undue financial gain, well in advance of when I sought to have it filmed and released, you deemed such illegality okay."

Apparently Fox made too many people angry.

Archiver said...

Though I find it unlikely in this case, it might very well be the case, Bruce. I do not know if movies can be insured but assuming they can, I can easily plot a conspiracy theory:

1- You spent 100 million on a movie.
2- You do not think it will break even
3- You leak and collect from insurers.

We will have to wait for the box office data after the movie is shown in the theaters.

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