It may have seemed like an early April Fool’s joke when X-Men Origins: Wolverine illegally hit the Web on March 31—one month ahead of its release date—but 20th Century Fox executives were hardly laughing. The leaked version of the film is reportedly a rough edit, with temporary music and sound as well as incomplete visual effects shots, but that hasn’t stopped large numbers of overzealous fans from downloading the X-Men prequel and posting early reviews.
Since I don’t condone Internet film piracy, I won’t link to any of the sites offering the leaked film for download. However, for those who simply must see it, it’s really not all that hard to find. But remember that when you obtain media through illegal channels, you’re not sticking it to wealthy executives. You’re hurting lower-level employees. In this economy, they’re the ones being laid off when films underperform at the box office.
Reuters reports, however, that Fox is on the case. "The FBI and the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) also are actively investigating this crime,” the studio said in a statement. “We are encouraged by the support of fansites condemning this illegal posting."
That’s all well and good, but there’s no way Fox is going to be able to stop people from getting their hands on the film at this point. Whether or not this leak will hurt Wolverine’s ticket sales remains to be seen.
I urge anyone who wants to see this film to do the right thing—wait until it hits theaters on May 1st.