‘The Expendables 3’ Illegally Downloaded By 2.2 Million, Lionsgate Proceeds With Lawsuit

As we reported, next to bombing at the box office, the worst nightmare for a studio releasing a blockbuster hopeful like The Expendables 3 is a leak going viral. In terms of The Expendables 3, fans are getting to see the film days before the movie is released into theaters, and that’s not due to the studio bumping its release date.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that a whopping 2.2 million users have downloaded a leaked copy illegally. As we’ve seen before, this can affect a film’s performance, and in a blockbuster summer that didn’t really get its mojo going until late July and early August, this might be a devastating blow to The Expendables 3.

The copy which is being described as “pristine” leaked online, and now Lionsgate Entertainment is the next studio to deal with a high profile piracy scandal just days before the action-packed film’s release. This happened back in 2009 when an incomplete version of X-Men Origins: Wolverine was released online before the film came out.

These two situations are unique because whether they’re finalized versions of the film or not, they are DVD quality versions of a highly anticipated hit. Usually pirated films are made very poorly and involve the use of a camcorder filming a huge screen in the movie theaters. Because of this, color correction isn’t rendered, sound is muffled, sometimes audience noise and a stray head disrupts the viewing, and the ratio is almost never fit to the screen.

So what exactly happened with The Expendables 3? Well, according to Lionsgate’s antipiracy executive Robert Wenokur, it was an in-house problem, which means someone stole a copy and leaked it. The Wall Street Journal reports that this piracy lowers the box-office in the domestic market by 19 percent, which was originally found by researchers over as Carnegie Mellon University.

That isn’t all — according to The Hollywood Reporter Lionsgate is looking for more than just a stop to the links.

“The requested injunction also seeks to have the defendants prohibited from ‘operating any of the websites’ and ordered to ‘take all steps necessary to recall and recover all copies of the Stolen Film or any portion thereof that they have distributed.’ Additionally, Lionsgate is looking to prevent defendants from transferring their assets and circumventing the court orders. The plaintiff wants registry operators to place the domain names on ‘locked’ status.”

The site continues:

“Additionally, the ISPs that are providing hosting and cloud storage as well as the banks and financial institutions servicing the torrent sites are also under the eye of the film company. Subpoenas could be issued soon.”

As expected in reaction to any damage that the film may receive, a lawsuit has been filed in Los Angeles and demands that six websites take down the links to the pirated copies. In response, numerous websites have cooperated.

As far as box office goes, The Expendables films have grossed $103 million and $85 million between the two. Hopefully The Expendables 3 won’t be too affected by the piracy leak, but as we stated, the chances that they’ll come out of this unscathed is highly unlikely.

The Expendables 3 shows off a massive ensemble of a who’s who in action films that bridges generational stars for one big explosive film. The film’s cast includes Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Jet Li, Terry Crews, Kellan Lutz, and more.

[Image via Bing]