'Wolverine': Enormous Security Hole Or Big Stroke Of 'Luck'? : Monkey See A print of Wolverine, one of the summer's most anticipated possible blockbusters, leaked online yesterday, and it might be a sign of things to come.
NPR logo 'Wolverine': Enormous Security Hole Or Big Stroke Of 'Luck'?

'Wolverine': Enormous Security Hole Or Big Stroke Of 'Luck'?

Wolverine: A version of Hugh Jackman's new film has leaked online; what happens now? Twentieth Century Fox hide caption

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Twentieth Century Fox

The X-Men follow-up X-Men Origins: Wolverine, one of Twentieth Century Fox's most anticipated movie releases of the summer, leaked on the Internet yesterday.

Well, the movie wasn't leaked, exactly. It's reportedly an unpolished, incomplete version of the movie, and surprisingly, it has no watermark that might help identify the culprit.

Are full-length leaks the wave of the future? We consider the possibility, after the jump...

There's no indication so far of how the leak happened, but it's hard to see it as a major blow to the film's chances for success. On the contrary, this is making Wolverine a headline-grabbing story a month ahead of its May 1 release, it's getting a core of viewers -- almost like a test audience -- talking about how good the movie is or isn't weeks before it opens, and because the effects aren't finished and there are apparently missing scenes, anybody who really wants to see it is still probably going to buy a theater ticket.

Again, there is no hint that Fox itself leaked the file. But depending on what happens to Wolverine and what becomes the conventional wisdom about how the leak affected the film's fortunes, it's intriguing to wonder whether leaks of entire films are the wave of the future.

It's already commonplace to screen part or all of an upcoming movie or TV episode at fan gatherings like Comic Con ahead of their availability to the public; how far is it from there to leaking a print of your film that's incomplete in terms of production, rather than incomplete in terms of running time? Does an unfinished print, surrounded by clear indications that it's not the finished product, function more like a very long trailer than a free copy of the movie?