[Update: According to Carlyle (AKA Massawyrm) at Spill.com, the version of the film that's leaked online is most likely an older version that hasn't yet integrated the new material from Hood's recent reshoots.]
Gavin Hood’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine is currently slated for a May 1, 2009 release date in the U.S., but unfortunately, it looks like a few people might be getting their hands on the film a bit earlier than intended. Reports are pouring in that a full-length, DVD-quality workprint of the film has been leaked onto the internet and is quietly making its way across various bittorrent sites and other unsavory online venues. According to Drew McWeeny at HitFix, who has evidently seen parts of the video file, the copy is “near-finished…marred only by a few unfinished FX shots.” In addition, “there’s no timecode, no watermark…nothing. It’s a clean, perfect copy.”
This is perhaps the biggest leak for a major tentpole release in recent memory. Leaving aside the well-known phenomenon of Oscar screener leaks, workprint leaks have certainly happened in the past. For example, Eli Roth’s Hostel 2 leaked onto the internet several weeks before its release (in that situation, Roth was furious and blamed the leak for the film’s weak box office performance). Other films such as Rob Zombie’s Halloween and Michael Moore’s Sicko also experienced similar issue. However, those films were all relatively small compared to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a film which 20th Century Fox was probably betting on to help revive its recent lackluster box office performance.
The film’s production has already been plagued by bad buzz, and with a fairly pristine copy of the film floating around for consumption by the very audience the film is targeted at, it will all probably combine to have a dramatic and negative impact on this film’s opening and overall box office performance.