We’re only a few days away from the big premiere of the next Harry Potter film and leave it to the Internet, specifically to the various torrent sites, to spoil it for Warner Brothers. Thirty-six minutes of the new film have leaked onto the ‘net and studio execs, who I’m sure are concerned, must be high-fiving their decision to only provide a small portion of the film to the press to screen. The footage is watermarked and obviously from a DVD screener, generally sent to the press prior to a film’s official release, however Warner Bros is not confirming this at this time.
For those with even a cursory knowledge of how torrent sites work, they’re probably quite busy getting a solid look at the film before the world-wide release later this week. According to TorrentFreak.com, this is not the first time ‘Deathly Hallows’ has made a splash on the torrent scene. In 2007 a scan of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book was posted online before it hit the book stores, and was then quickly transcribed by fans. Someone had managed to get their hands on the American edition of the book and had photographed each page of the book and uploaded it to BitTorrent.
Flash forward a few years and dozens of torrent sites are offering up the lengthy “preview” of the film. No surprise really, considering TorrentFreak reports that Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince scored a spot on its “most pirated movies” list with nearly 8 million downloads last year. Industry watchers are speculating whether the leak will have any affect on ticket sales, which seems remote unless the initial half hour of the film is disastrously bad. Instead, it may have the opposite effect, whetting movie-goers appetite for the full movie.
Wired.com is already reporting an official statement by the studio, who is vowing to find and prosecute those responsible.
“Last night a portion of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 was stolen and illegally posted on the internet. This constitutes a serious breach of copyright violation and theft of Warner Bros. property. We are working actively to restrict and/or remove copies that may be available. Also, we are vigorously investigating this matter and will prosecute those involved to the full extent of the law.”
What do you think? Will a little more than a half hour of the film have any bearing on opening night box office sales? Let us know your opinion in the comments section.