It’s been the big news story of the past week — X-Men Origins: Wolverine somehow found its way into a pair of questionable hands and ultimately was leaked onto the Internet in explosive fashion. In what seemed almost like an unavoidable virus, the movie had spread around to thousands of computers in what seemed like moments. It is believed that actual numbers included 70,000 downloads (surely many more by now) and who knows how many viewings.
One big thing that we’ve learned in all of this, is that when movies finish production, they get shipped out in all different directions — sometimes they go to special effect/animation studios, they go to get their music put in, they’re sent to have trailers cut, they’re sent to people to set up the DVD — and this is where many various people get their hands on the movies. Fortunately, most people aren’t stupid and careless enough to actually put the movie on the Internet where millions of people can get to it.
If you’re not familiar with this leak, it was a copy of a workprint version of the film. This means that it’s unfinished and many special effects and other things are incomplete. Sometimes these versions are shown in early screenings to gauge viewer reactions, but that’s about the only time you’d ever see one. This particular workprint is also missing all of the reshoots that went into the movie a short time ago, which was in an attempt to change some things they did not like and make the movie better. Because of this, hopefully most who went and watched the leaked version thinking they were scoring an early peek will realize that they didn’t see the real movie that’s coming out on May 1, 2009.
One of the people who decided to give the movie a look-see was Fox News freelance web person Roger Friedman. Better yet, after he decided to watch the pirated film, he took it a step further and reviewed the movie for his site! Wow. One of your all-time “woopsie” moments, right there.
Here’s an excerpt from his review:
I did find the whole top 10 [movies in theaters], plus TV shows, commercials, videos, everything, all streaming away. It took really less than seconds to start playing it all right onto my computer. I could have downloaded all of it but really, who has the time or the room? Later tonight I may finally catch up with Paul Rudd in ‘I Love You, Man.’ It’s so much easier than going out in the rain!
This lovely example of not thinking before you act was swiftly responded to by Fox, who rightfully fired the guy. Here’s the statement from Fox News Corp:
Roger Friedman’s views in no way reflect the views of News Corporation. We, along with 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, have been a consistent leader in the fight against piracy and have zero tolerance for any action that encourages and promotes piracy. When we advised Fox News of the facts they took immediate action, removed the post, and promptly terminated Mr. Friedman.
It’s been quite the interesting week in movies, and as many others have said, this is likely the start to some severe changes in how studios go about things and their efforts to stop employees, contractors, and everyone else from getting their hands on copies of their films.
Keep in mind, The Dark Knight had its own similar situation and they ended up doing pretty damn good in hindsight. Not to say that this makes it all OK, but hopefully everyone will realize that the ACTUAL final product hasn’t been seen yet, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine finds some success after this whole mess.
[Sources: CHUD; Deadline Hollywood; AICN]