With Wolverine now over a week into general release, on it’s opening weekend the new X-Men film made an astonishing $85m in America alone, but Fox still weren’t happy. Despite becoming the highest opener of the year so far, Fox claim the film should, and would, have done even better if it were not for the now infamous workprints leak some weeks ago.
Estimates now place the download count at around 4 million, and when you factor in today’s high ticket prices, that equates to around $29m in ‘lost earnings’. As we’ve discussed before, to the MPAA and its associated film studios, one download equates to one lost cinema ticket or DVD sale. In reality, this is nonsense. A lot of the people who downloaded the workprint would have done so just because they could, to check out the quality of leak and because they were curious, while many others will have downloaded the film, and then paid again to see it at the cinema. After all, if the film’s good enough, there’s nothing like the cinema experience and a second viewing should be equally enjoyable as the first. X-Men Origins: Wolverine might not quite justify a second trip, heck, we uncovered quite a few flaws in our review, but the logic stands. And for those who regularly download films and don’t bother paying to see films in theatres, would only have waited for the first ‘cam’ copy to hit the web and get their fix that way.
No doubt the piracy was the cause for a few lost ticket sales, but this is not because of the workprint, just piracy in general. And if anything, the huge press the leaked workprint was given around the world, gave the film more coverage than any PR campaign could have ever hoped for.