The first glimpses of David Fincher's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" leaked over the Memorial Day weekend. While Sony remained mum about the release, scrutiny of the stolen clip has centered on Sony executives leaking the clip themselves, as noted by MSNBC. Curiously, Sony has not asked outlets like Entertainment Weekly to pull the clip. The "leaked" trailer has already been downloaded more than a million times on Youtube, indicating interest in "The Girl with Dragon Tattoo" is quite high.
Here are a few famous examples of movie leaks and how they helped and hindered movies in the past.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1"
Just days before the release of the first installment of the final Harry Potter movie hit theaters Nov. 19, 2010, the first 36 minutes of the movie appeared online. While Warner Brothers issued a statement promising to prosecute whoever leaked the footage, the leak only stoked the already flaming hot buzz: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1" opened to the biggest box office in the history of the franchise.
"X-Men Origins: Wolverine"
In April of 2009, a full length but not completed version of "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" was leaked online less than a month before the film opened on May 1, according to CNN. While the film eventually opened to more than $85 million, the opening was down from the previous X-Men adventure, "X-Men: The Last Stand," which opened to $102 million.
More than 1 million people downloaded the film illegally, but problems behind the scenes that led to reshoots plagued the movie, as did many negative reviews. Ironically, while 20th Century Fox was pursuing those who illegally downloaded "Wolverine," Fox News movie critic Roger Friedman reviewed the leaked version and gave the film a very positive review. Friedman was subsequently fired.
"Ang Lee's Hulk"
In 2003, a New Jersey man named Kerry Gonzalez received a copy of "Hulk" from a friend two weeks before the film's debut in June. Gonzalez digitized a copy of the film and then uploaded it onto the Internet. Gonzalez ended up paying $7,000 in fines and spent six months in home confinement.
It's unclear how much the leak hurt the opening weekend box office of "Hulk." The ability to download full length movies in 2003 wasn't nearly as advanced as it was when more than 1 million people downloaded "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" in 2009. "Hulk" was also the subject of troubling behind the scenes buzz and mixed critical reviews.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The leak of the trailer for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" may be another watershed for the industry. If the rumors about Sony leaking the clip itself turn out to be true, it would be the first known occasion that a major movie studio has used the very tactics it decries as criminal -- footage shot by an amateur camera in a movie theater and then uploaded onto the Internet -- as a way of marketing a movie.
- Harry Potter movie
- Warner Brothers