Sunday, May 3, 2009

THR, Esq: 'How much did piracy hurt Wolverine boxoffice?'

Matt Belloni at THR, Esq. has a very interesting post evaluating various estimates of how the pre-release leak of X-Men Origins: Wolverine affected its opening-weekend haul. Domestic box office was a not-too-shabby $87 million, but the real question is: what would the total have been absent the leak? Belloni compares Wolverine's opening-weekend numbers with those of similar films released on similar weekends, and comes up with scenarios of piracy-based harms ranging from $15.75 million down to zero. But the real answer, as Belloni correctly concludes, is: "unknowable."


  1. Ben - why not mention where the final scenarios in the THR article lead - i.e. that maybe the studio deliberately leaked a work in progress as a "teaser" - plus the proven phenomenon that "all publicity is good publicity" - and just maybe we have a new recipe for success in certain situations?

    In other words, maybe the "pirates" helped the box office?

  2. There is zero evidence that Fox intentionally leaked it.

  3. This was not camcorded. This was a workprint. Somebody on the inside let it get into the outside.

  4. Yes -- it leaked from somewhere in the post-production process, probably from a rogue employee. But there is absolutely no evidence that the studio encouraged, tolerated, or otherwise promoted the leak. To the contrary: Roger Friedman was canned from Fox News for seeming to condone the leak, and are cooperating with the FBI in tracking down and prosecuting the leaker.

  5. As it was a workprint it's unlikely to have made a major impact.

    I sure hope the FBI isn't investigating this. They have far better things to do.

  6. @ Aononymous 3:39:

    Sorry to disappoint you:

    Keith Bolcar, special agent in charge of the FBI's cyber division in Los Angeles, said agents and their partners as "doing everything we can to keep up with the learning curve of technology, hopefully just as fast as our criminal subjects."

    The FBI meets routinely with studio representatives to share intelligence, to discuss strategy and to detect and fix vulnerabilities in security measures, he said.

    "While I can't discuss investigative techniques, we employ a myriad of sophisticated methods to solve these crimes," said Bolcar, whose office is investigating the "Wolverine" leak. "Our investigators receive extensive training and are technologically savvy."


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