A much-anticipated movie is leaked on the Internet prior to release. So, what else is new?
Not this suspicion: That the leak was planned, if not authorized.
When it comes to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, is this cynical hunch dead on—or dead wrong?
Let's put it this way: Not even the competition thinks the boy wizard is, as sorta suggested by TorrentFreak, out for (more) publicity.
"I couldn't think of anything more absurd," Fox exec Chris Aronson said via email Tuesday.
Fox infamously suffered its own security breach when a feature-length, yet incomplete version of X-Men Origins: Wolverine found its way online a month before the 2009 film's opening.
Then as now, suspicious minds wondered if a studio had "gotten a little bit lucky." Fox, meanwhile, fumed at how it had gotten so unlucky.
"There was a major concern about box office," Aronson said.
By comparison, the Deathly Hallows leak, per TorrentFreak, concerns "only" the film's first 36 minutes. Still, Harry Potter's minders at Warner Bros. don't sound any more pleased than Wolverine's did.
The "stolen" and "illegally posted" footage, Warners said in a statement Tuesday, "constitutes a serious breach of copyright violation and theft of Warner Bros. property…[W]e are vigorously investigating this matter and will prosecute those involved to the full extent of the law."
If it's any consolation to the studio, Wolverine, leak or no, ended up clawing its way to a big, fat opening weekend. Exhibitor Relations box-office analyst Jeff Bock told us in an email he expects Deathly Hallows to do the same—and then some.
"[Deathly Hallows] is on track to have the biggest debut the series has ever seen," said Bock, who was calling for a whopping $125 million Friday-Sunday gross. "Not even the dark forces of Lord Voldemort could stop the spell that [the film] will cast on Muggles far and wide."
Harry Potter best hope that thought applies to the dark forces of conspiracy theorists, too.