Sun. Jan 23rd, 2022

It appeared to be an April fool’s day gag come a day too early, but the leaking of a working print of the upcoming summer blockbuster “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” all over the internet is no joke.An unwatermarked, DVD quality film that went up across Bit Torrent websites is a “stolen, incomplete and early version” of the film and is missing some special effects, the finalized score and scenes that were reshot in Janurary.

Starring Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds and Liev Schreiber, the movie follows the life of X-Men team member Wolverine, from conflicts with Victor Creed/Sabertooth (Schreiber) to how exactly he received his trademark claws.

Fox studio officials released a statement Deadlinehollywooddaily.com to about the leak, saying “We forensically mark our content so we can identify sources that make it available or download it. The source of the initial leak and any subsequent postings will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law – the courts have handed down significant criminal sentences for such acts in the past.”

Due out May 1, the prequel to the “X-Men” movie franchise had already been downloaded thousands of times in mere hours and the number continues to climb. Expected to have an effect on the films’ opening, the leak marks the first for such a large budget film, but is far from the first victim of an early and illegal release.

The statement goes on to say “We immediately contacted the appropriate legal authorities and had it removed,” but while it was removed from the initial web site on which it was leaked, the film made its way to Bit Torrent web sites like The Pirate Bay and Mininova, with no way for it to be removed.

The source of the leak is currently under investigation, Fox stating that “The FBI and the MPAA also are actively investigating this crime.”

Additionally, the studio says that they are “encouraged by the support of fansites condemning this illegal posting and pointing out that such theft undermines the enormous efforts of the filmmakers and actors, and above all, hurts the fans of the film” the letter claims.

This has not stopped reviews and commentary from fans from sprouting up all over blogs and message boards however, as the reception of the early cut is mixed at best.

Owned by Fox, the property has already been rife with problems from rumors of conflict between director Gavin Hood and Fox CEO Tom Rothman to extensive reshoots a few months ago.

The focus of those sessions is reportedly focusing on Ryan Reynolds’ character in the film, Deadpool, a Marvel character with a cult following and a recently resurrected monthly publication. Fox has been keeping a tight lid on everything Deadpool thus far, with any information, minus that of the leaked film itself, closely guarded though it appears from the trailers that the character will be in a different incarnation in the film.

The reshoots and incomplete scenes found in the work print also mean that the feature comes to theaters in less than a month could be drastically different, both visually and with concern to the overall plot than the version available online.

Kory Dench can be reached at KD608724@wcupa.edu.

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