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The action movie The Expendables 3, which officially premieres on August 15, has been pirated by hackers three weeks before its release. The film somehow leaked online and it has been downloaded over 189,000 times in just 24 hours through piracy websites. The lead cast members of the film include Wesley Snipes, Mel Gibson, Sylvester Stallone, Kelsey Grammer, Ronda Rousey, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Antonio Banderas, Dolph Lundgren and Harrison Ford.
The accidental leak of the movie online before its debut in the theaters, although extremely rare, could seriously diminish the box office success for the movie. In addition, the target audience for the film is young males who are also the largest users of illicit file-sharing websites and services. On the flip side, although highly unlikely, internet users could encourage a triumph at the box office by encouraging others to go see the film in the theaters after viewing it themselves over the web.
Lionsgate, the company responsible for distribution for The Expendables 3, did not reply to a request for comment on the incident. The original source of the reproduced copy is unclear.
The stolen copies of The Expendables 3 began appearing on torrent-sharing websites Wednesday and downloads began to spike on Thursday, according to reports provided by the piracy-analytics firm Excipio. Data showed that as of 6 pm EST on Thursday, July 24, the film had already been downloaded 42,216 times in the United States and 189,052 times worldwide. It is likely that the download numbers will reach into the millions before Lionsgate can recover any of their reported budget of $90 million.
The first two installments of The Expendables series, which both starred Stallone, were released by Lionsgate in the middle of August in 2010 and 2012. The first film grossed $275 million worldwide and the second movie grossed over $300 million. The Expendables 3 was pirated by hackers just three weeks before its release, which is definitely a cause for concern for Lionsgate and the actors who contributed to making the film.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time one of The Expendables movies has been unlawfully copied online. In the year 2011, The Expendables production company Nu Image filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement, targeting over 23,000 BitTorrent users that apparently downloaded copies of the first movie.
Other popular films have been subject to the same occurrence. In 2009, a rough edit of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 20th Century Fox, was shared online on Megaupload.com almost one month before the movie was supposed to premiere. Fox approximated that a minimum of 15 million people had downloaded the movie, which represented several million dollars in revenue lost to the company.
Gilberto Sanchez, a Bronx resident, was arrested in December of 2009 for uploading Wolverine illegally and was sentenced to one year in prison for his actions. Subsequently, law enforcement officials eventually shut down Megaupload.com in 2012 and are currently seeking monetary compensation.
The Expendables 3 was pirated by hackers three weeks before its release. Hopefully the media buzz about the leak will encourage moviegoers to see the film and it will be a huge success at the box office.
By Amy Nelson