‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ workprint hits Internet a month before release
And now, all the stories that we couldn’t run yesterday because people would think it’s another prank. I don’t blame them, I barely believe this one myself.
The statement from 20th Century Fox says it all:
"Last night, a stolen, incomplete and early version of X-Men Origins: Wolverine was posted illegally on a website. It was without many effects, had missing and unedited 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 in the past. The FBI and the MPAA also are actively investigating this crime. We are encouraged by the support of fansites condemning 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."
The economic impact cannot be underestimated here, both to Fox and to Marvel, which had pegged May as the month to publish alternate Wolverine covers on every single title. We can assume that word-of-mouth attendance on the film’s opening weekend is going to be hurt. Remember that this was probably going to be Fox’s major money maker for the year– now they have to hope that nobody leaks Night At The Museum 2 or the next Ice Age film.
Between this and a bad batch of Slumdog Millionaire DVDs released without the special features advertised on the box, Fox is not having a good week.