A copy of The Expendables 3 leaked online and was downloaded more than 100,000 times in just 12 hours. While it’s the norm now for movies to be leaked online, it doesn’t normally happen until after the movie is released in theaters.
A near-perfect copy of the action flick appeared online earlier Thursday and immediately became a hit. The action movie features close to every action hero known to man, including Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Wesley Snipes, and Jason Statham. Randy Couture and Rhonda Rousey also make an appearance.
Given the movie’s cast list, as well as the successes of the previous two films, The Expendables 3 was expected to be a big hit on the big screen. However, TorrentFreak suggests Nu Image’s next big hit won’t see nearly the theater ticket sales it would have otherwise.
TorrentFreak found that more than 200,000 people have downloaded the so-called “DVD screener” copy on BitTorrent alone, as of publishing time. At one point, more than 65,000 users were engaged in transfers on one torrent. The stats push the leak well ahead of the X-Men Origins: Wolverine leak of 2009.
The leak of The Expendables 3 before its release date is bad enough, but the quality of the copy makes it even worse. So-called “cam” copies are an annoyance and most movie-goers will opt to go to the theater over downloading a bad copy. High-quality copies are much more likely to be downloaded, as the soaring download numbers show.
Yahoo! Movies reports that, with 21 days left before the movie’s August 15 premiere, the number of illegal downloads of The Expendables 3 leak will almost certainly surpass one million.
The original source of the pirated copy is unclear, but piracy-analytics firm Excipio notes that the first copies began cropping up Wednesday. Without a thorough investigation, it is almost impossible to find out who obtained the DVD copy, though it’s possible to track who brought it to the internet.
Expendables 3 was placed on the internet as a P2P release, which makes it more difficult to track who had the initial copy. However, the most popular copy appears to be attributable to Drarbg. The group has accounts on several torrent sites, from BitTorrent to The Pirate Bay.
Lionsgate, which is distributing the movie, has not commented to media outlets about the leak of The Expendables 3. In the past, production company Nu Image has sued previous downloaders of its titles, but did not win the lawsuit. Time will tell if the company does the same with The Expendables 3.