“The Expendables 3” is facing an uphill battle at the box office after opening with a franchise-low $5.9 million Friday, the Hollywood Reporter said. The soft opening could be due to either stiff competition from the likes of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” or a general lack of interest, but another factor could be a near-DVD-quality leak of the action-adventure film a month before it hit theaters.
“The Expendables 3” leak surfaced on torrent sites such as KickassTorrents, or KAT, and The Pirate Bay, or TPB, July 25 and racked up millions of downloads in the process, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. With the movie readily available before its release in theaters, its box-office success could have been seriously hindered.
The Lions Gate Film Inc. unit of the Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (NYSE:LGF), the company behind the movie, filed for injunctions against several sites, including billionuploads.com., hulkfile.eu and swankshare.com. The relevant court sided with Lions Gate and issued a ruling barring the online distribution of “The Expendables 3.”
Torrent copies of the film can still be found on KAT and TPB, despite the court’s ruling, proving how difficult it can be to stop movie files from spreading online. It will be impossible to determine how much business was lost due to the leak, but it will be mentioned if “The Expendables 3” cannot find an audience during its theatrical run.
“The Expendables 3” could wind up in fourth place at the box office in its debut weekend, the Hollywood Reporter said. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” will likely spend a second week atop the box-office rankings, with “Guardians of the Galaxy” coming in second place. Another newcomer, “Let’s Be Cops,” is expected to take third place.
The foreign box office could save “The Expendables 3,” THR said, as the franchise has been a huge hit overseas.