‘Revenant,’ ‘Hateful Eight,’ And More Oscar Screeners Leak Online

‘Revenant,’ ‘Hateful Eight,’ And More Oscar Screeners Leak Online

By Amanda Joyce Dec 22, 2015 11:45 AM
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox

2015 has been a huge year in Hollywood box office. But it’s also been a huge year in free movies if you aren’t so legally minded. Screeners for critics and award show voters have been leaking left and right all year long, and it’s happened again - both The Revenant and Hateful Eight have seen screeners used for award season leak to file sharing sites before their December 25 theatrical release.

According to several sites that track internet piracy, The Revenant is the most recent movie to leak that’s seeing huge traffic. More than 300,000 downloads of the movie occurred in 24 hours, which doesn’t seem like a lot when you think about how many people go see a movie on opening weekend, but word of mouth from leaks can make or break a movie, or a television show.

You might remember that the Supergirl pilot leaked earlier this year, and while initial responses to preview clips were mixed, it was the leaking of the pilot that seemed to get people more interested in the show. People who accessed the leaked footage were curious about how the show would balance the romantic-comedy tone of the show with the burgeoning superhero story, and it paid off, giving the series a huge premiere.

The difference between movies and TV though is that episodes of television are already paid for by ad dollars. Studios want to see butts in seats when a movie lands in theaters while TV studios are slowly realizing that not everyone is able to watch a show live these days. It’s possible that leaks, especially if there’s negative buzz about the movie because of them, could hurt the box office instead of help it.

The Christmas Day box office already has a healthy dose of competition without adding the possibility of seeing a film without paying to the mix. Movies releasing on Friday include the aforementioned Revenant, Hateful Eight, Joy (which leaked earlier this month), Point Break, Concussion, Daddy’s Home, and of course, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is in its second week, making any new box office contenders tremble. Christmas weekend is traditionally a huge box office weekend in the US, but with half of the movies being released accessible on torrent sites, could the box office suffer?

Probably not. Even The Force Awakens has found its way online, and with it firmly at the top of the box office charts, it likely won’t have a huge effect. Of the films leaked, the one most likely to be hurt is Joy, which hasn’t been doing so well with critics ahead of its release either.

From a legal standpoint though, studios might be more inclined to take action against whomever is doing the leaking. Piracy group Hive-CM8 is one of the groups taking credit for the recent influx of leaked films, and they claim to have 40 brand new screeners in total, so the industry could be seeing a lot of movies accessible online before they want them to be. Perhaps more studios will adopt HBO’s way of doing things - no more DVDs sent out, but instead, streaming video is provided from a secure link. That could make it much more difficult for anyone to get their hands on the illegal videos.

Tags: The Revenant (2015), The Hateful Eight (2015), Joy (2015), Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015)
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Having graduated with a BS in Psychology in 2008, Amanda opted not to pursue a scientific field, but freelance writing instead. A bit of a pop culture junkie, ...
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