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Exclusive: Fox chairman says leaked 'Wolverine' is an 'unfinished version' and 'a complete misrepresentation of the film'

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Tomrothman_l

Tomrothman_l

Before he even opened the e-mail he received at around 7 p.m. on Tuesday night, Tom Rothman, chairman of Twentieth Century Fox, knew it contained the news he’d dreaded most: An outdated copy X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the big summer tentpole movie that the studio had spent “hundreds of millions of dollars” to make, had been put up on the Internet in its entirety for fans to download at will. It was every studio chief’s worst nightmare. “The version that went out is unfinished. It’s about 10 minutes shorter, doesn’t have key scenes, it wasn’t edited, and none of the effects shots were in any remotely final form,” Rothman tells EW. “It’s a complete misrepresentation of the film and is deeply unfair to the people who have worked on it for years.”

Rothman says Fox and the FBI are zeroing in on the culprits and he feels confident that they’ll be able to name the perpetrators soon. Although early reports named Rising Sun Pictures, an Australian special effects house that worked on the movie, as a possible suspect due to a watermark with their logo that appeared on parts of the bootlegged copy, Rising Sun contacted EW this evening and denied any wrongdoing. “We worked on individual sections of the film and Rising Sun Pictures or its staff members have never been in possession of a complete version,” said Rising Sun chairman Tony Clark in a statement. “It’s common practice for work in progress between us and the production to carry vendor watermarks and for these to be integrated into various edits of the film for screenings, which would explain why our name appears.”

Regardless, the experience will change the way the studio does business with special effects houses and post production facilities in the future. “We, like everybody, thought our system was secure,” Rothman says. “Just like I’m sure there are lots of banks that get robbed that thought their vault was safe. We thought the post-production pipeline was secure at every juncture. But, obviously, it’s self-evident that  it wasn’t. I have a high level of confidence we’ll find out where the lapse in security was and we’ll bring the perpetrators to justice.”

addCredit(“Rothman: Eric Charbonneau/WireImage.com; Wolverine: Michael Muller”)

While it’s impossible to tabulate the actual amount of financial

damage caused by a high-profile act of creative theft such as this one,

Rothman hopes that it will be somewhat contained since the conventional

wisdom is that the people who download movies also tend to be the

alpha-fans who pay to see the same film multiple times in theaters.

“The picture is not the kind of movie people get the whole experience

of by watching on their computer. But other than The Hulk, I

don’t think a movie with this kind of anticipation has been stolen. And

it’s also a big deal because of how early it is.” Meaning, there’s a

whole month before the movie is in theaters, and that gives fans a long

time to get their fill of X-Men and move on.

But the filmmakers are determined not to let that happen. Rothman is

touting a bunch of footage shot in Canada earlier this year that he

says is not even included in the version online. And he insists that

both he and Hugh Jackman have vowed to stop at nothing to get the movie

out to as many fans as possible. “Hugh was heartbroken and hurt when he

found out. He’s lived with this thing for 10 years. But he’s also a man

and knows that life isn’t fair, and is more determined than ever,”

Rothman says. “Hugh and I exchanged e-mails: Basically, we’re not going

to let the bastards win. But we didn’t use the word ‘bastards.’ That’s

a slightly sanitized version.”

More on the ‘Wolverine’ leak:
‘Wolverine’ workprint leaked online
‘Wolverine’ leak: Fox issues a statement vowing to prosecute
‘Wolverine’ leak: Hollywood’s mixed response

While it’s impossible to tabulate the actual amount of financialdamage caused by a high-profile act of creative theft such as this one,Rothman hopes that it will be somewhat contained since the conventionalwisdom is that the people who download movies also tend to be thealpha-fans who pay to see the same film multiple times in theaters.”The picture is not the kind of movie people get the whole experienceof by watching on their computer. But other than The Hulk, Idon’t think a movie with this kind of anticipation has been stolen. Andit’s also a big deal because of how early it is.” Meaning, there’s awhole month before the movie is in theaters, and that gives fans a longtime to get their fill of X-Men and move on.

But the filmmakers are determined not to let that happen. Rothman istouting a bunch of footage shot in Canada earlier this year that hesays is not even included in the version online. And he insists thatboth he and Hugh Jackman have vowed to stop at nothing to get the movieout to as many fans as possible. “Hugh was heartbroken and hurt when hefound out. He’s lived with this thing for 10 years. But he’s also a manand knows that life isn’t fair, and is more determined than ever,”Rothman says. “Hugh and I exchanged e-mails: Basically, we’re not goingto let the bastards win. But we didn’t use the word ‘bastards.’ That’sa slightly sanitized version.”

More on the ‘Wolverine’ leak:
‘Wolverine’ workprint leaked online
‘Wolverine’ leak: Fox issues a statement vowing to prosecute
‘Wolverine’ leak: Hollywood’s mixed response