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Every major Hollywood film is going to get leaked online at some point - the only question is when. Most movies are lucky enough to stay offline until after opening weekend, but then there are the unlucky ones. Turns out that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 falls into the latter category.
Torrent Freak reports that the penultimate movie in the series has already found its way onto various torrent sites despite the fact that the film doesn't arrive in theaters until midnight on Thursday. While some may argue that this will have little effect on the box office performance anyway, there is a silver-lining for Warner Bros. in this case: the file only has the first 36 minutes of the film. The site reports that the last film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, was the seventh most popular film torrent of 2009, totaling nearly 8 million downloads. The site predicts that Deathly Hallows: Part 1 will exceed that mark.
When you download movies illegally, however, there are always consequences - and I don't just mean legal and financial ones. Hackers have long used popular movies as Trojan Horses to infiltrate computers and now it is being reported that they are doing it with the newest Harry Potter. Tech Day says that hackers have already begun setting up fake websites that appear to offer the film in its entirety, only to have the user download malicious software. According to the site, the scam works by having Harry Potter fans search and stumble upon their website, which offers a free download of the movie if they "complete 'offers'" that require the user to give away personal information. Most savvy internet users likely won't fall for the tricks, but there are always children out there who don't know the difference.
Expect this leak to have absolutely no effect on the film's box office performance. Many of you might remember the incident last year when a workprint version of X-Men Origins: Wolverine leaked online a month before the film's release date. People were acting as though it was the end of the world and that the film would crash and burn because so many people had already watched it, but the movie went on to make $373 million worldwide anyway. With a nearly two-and-a-half hour runtime, 36 minutes is nothing more than an extended preview. If it were the entire film the situation could be looked at differently, but this is nothing for Warner Bros. to be concerned about.