A copy of The Expendables 3—the latest in a series of all-star action movies starring major Hollywood figures like Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford, and Jason Statham, among others—leaked online Wednesday on various BitTorrent piracy websites. The film has been downloaded nearly 200,000 times since it leaked, according to Variety.
Movies frequently leak online, but the Expendables 3 scenario is a big deal for two reasons. First of all, it leaked before the movie hit theaters—three weeks before its scheduled premiere, to be exact. And secondly, the quality of the leak is unusually high. The earliest movie leaks are usually “cam” copies, recorded via cameras snuck into screenings, then uploaded online. The Expendables 3 copy, however, is taken from a DVD screener—a format usually produced by the movie’s distributor and given to media figures ahead of theatrical release.
Because the movie will not be officially released for weeks, Lionsgate may lose millions of dollars in sales. The first Expendables movie, released in 2010, grossed nearly $275 million worldwide. Expendables 2, released in 2012, grossed over $300 million.
Due to the decentralized nature of BitTorrent piracy, and because of the pseudonyms frequently used on piracy websites, it may be impossible to trace the source of the leak. TorrentFreak, a blog about filesharing news, believes it has traced the alleged leaker to as far back as “an entity known as Drarbg,” which could be either a single person or a group of people working to leak movies online.
The last movie leak as high-profile as The Expendables 3 came in 2009, when a copy of X-Men Origins: Wolverine leaked two months before its release date. However, that copy was of an incomplete workprint, with special effects still unfinished.