The theatrical release of Lionsgate’s testosterone-heavy summer action epic The Expendables 3 isn’t scheduled for another three weeks, but that hasn’t prevented the finished film from being leaked online to various torrent sites.
According to Variety the leaked copy of the Patrick Hughes-directed sequel currently in circulation was taken from a DVD screener and downloaded almost 200,000 times around the world in a 24-hour period. That number is expected to increase as the official release of the film approaches.
The third entry in the all-star action hero franchise fronted by Sylvester Stallone is hardly the first major studio release to be leaked in advance of its big-screen premiere. Films such as Hostel Part II, American Gangster, Ang Lee’s Marvel movie Hulk, and the Michael Moore documentary Sicko were all illegally uploaded to torrent sites before they hit theaters.
In 2007 an early cut of Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake that played to test audiences was made available not long before the finished edit was released to excellent box office. Two years later the same thing happened with an unfinished workprint of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but the film went on to gross over $373 million worldwide. Hostel Part II didn’t gross nearly as much as its predecessor, which director Eli Roth blamed on internet piracy.
The source of the Expendables 3 leak has not yet been identified. How this will affect its box office is up in the air, but the series has been very successful in theaters and subsequently on home video and cable since the first film was released in August 2010, so there’s no reason to think the leak will impact the box office grosses of the latest sequel. Movies like this play better on the big screen anyway. Nonetheless, some heads are going to roll over this leak.
The Expendables 3 co-stars Jason Statham, Antonio Banderas, Jet Li, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren, Kelsey Grammar, Terry Crews, Mel Gibson, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Ronda Rousey, Wesley Snipes, Kellan Lutz, and Harrison Ford, and opens in theaters on August 15, 2014.