Wolverine Pirate Gets One Year
Back in the summer of 2009, Fox was set to release its fourth X-Men movie, a spin-off of the mutant franchise called X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Rumor had it that if Wolverine was successful, then we would be treated to a new franchise of X-Men Origins movies, each one focusing on a different character’s origin. Since the Origins movies wouldn’t be ensemble pieces, they would be able to get deeper with the characters the previous movies had allowed — that was the promising rumor.
Then, weeks before the movie was released theatrically, it leaked online. Its original source was online for only a day, but before Wolverine opened theatrically, it was estimated that the movie was downloaded 20 million times. Fox tried to woo moviegoers, even those that had downloaded it, saying that the version they had seen wasn’t complete. They even went and filmed two different epilogues for the post-credit scene (depending on which theater you went to, you were treated to a different scene).
Wolverine ended up doing only okay in theaters — it did well enough there are still plans for a Wolverine 2, but there weren’t any direct Origin follow-ups (though First Class probably came from this idea). Fox blamed the leak. Critics blamed the script.
It’s been two years, but the man who originally leaked the film has been sentenced to one year in federal prison. You can read the entire article over at Variety. My only question for Mister Sanchez (the pirate) is, “was it worth it? Was Wolverine worth one year in prison?” With 20 million downloads, it could be argued that Sanchez did anywhere between $100 and $200 million dollars worth of damage — and that’s just for Wolverine alone. Many have said over the years that the movie that ended up being released was rushed, with certain special effects incomplete. A better movie might have meant better sales which would have translated to a quicker turnaround for sequels and spin-offs.
How much damage piracy is doing is still hotly contended and debated, but clearly film studios (and our judicial system) is taking it very seriously.