Movie piracy has been a hot-button issue in the entertainment industry recently. Every year it seems like there are at least a few high-profile instances where a movie leaks out online, much to the chagrin of everyone involved, and this year is no different. High quality copies of both Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming western The Hateful Eight and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s frontier survival epic The Revenant have now surfaced, and that could be just the start of it.
During the end of the year awards season, studios send out screeners to various critic groups, guilds, and other organizations voting for the best movies of the year. Though many of these are secure and watermarked to ensure that this doesn’t happen, Torrent Freak reports that so far this year a number of prestigious titles, including The Hateful Eight and The Revenant have still managed to find their way online.
Tarantino’s ensemble western flick is slated to hit theaters in a limited release on Christmas Day, and expand to more markets in the following weeks, but the article reports that it has already been downloaded 300,000 times. Similarly, the Leonardo DiCaprio starring revenge/survival tale hits some theaters on December 25 before expanding, but it, too, can also be found online ahead of it hitting your local metroplex.
Given that screeners are sent out so people can see how good a particular movie is, these copies are usually very high quality, and people who are impatient about waiting for the theatrical release are already downloading them in large numbers. Last year, before The Expendables 3 hit theaters, it leaked onto the internet and made the rounds, and the studio blames this in large part for the movie’s financial downfall (it only made $39 million domestically).
The Revenant and The Hateful Eight may be the biggest titles to leak out online, but they’re far from the only ones; in fact, they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Torrent Freak reports that a number of others have found their way onto piracy sites as well. The latest installment in the Rocky franchise, Creed, has already been downloaded north of 100,000 times; Ron Howard’s whaling adventure, In the Heart of the Sea, has leaked; as have Straight Outta Compton, The Peanuts Movie, Carol, Brooklyn, the Tom Hardy-starring Legend, biopic Steve Jobs, and the Jennifer Lawrence-fronted Joy.
And this sounds like it may only be the beginning. One group responsible for some of these leaks, Hive-CM8, says they have dozens of screeners and are in the process of unleashing them all. This includes "the hottest title of the year," and though we don’t know exactly what that is, the first thing that springs to mind is Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and if that gets out, it will probably break the internet.