Word “The Expendables 3” had leaked online quickly spread across the Internet, with thousands of movie fans jubilantly pirating the movie a full two weeks before it hits theaters. Sylvester Stallone, the star of the movie and face of “The Expendables” franchise, though, told reporters he’s disappointed so many fans have elected to steal the movie rather than see it on the big screen.
“That makes me really sad, but you know I understand that a lot of people have accepted that’s kind of a way of life,” said Stallone, 68, as quoted by the Associated Press, adding that stars of his magnitude aren’t the ones who suffer financially. “I think it’s unfortunate because it isn’t about me. I’m okay, but there’s thousands of people that won’t make movies. They won’t get a chance because they’ve lost a lot of money. That’s the trouble.”
While it’s unknown where the leak originated, it’s incredibly rare for movies to become available online before their theatrical release date. On July 15, though, an anonymous 4chan user said they were in possession of a still-unreleased movie and sought advice on how to distribute it online without being identified by police or copyright enforcers.
The film has since been downloaded more than 1 million times, inspiring Lions Gate Film Inc., a unit of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (NYSE: LGF) and distributor of the film, to file a lawsuit against the sites that made the copyright video available.
“By downloading one of these ‘torrent’ files associated with the stolen film from [one of the defendants], users join a ‘swarm’ where they download parts of the stolen film from many different users and also upload to other users parts of the stolen film they have already received, until eventually they have reproduced the entire stolen film on their own hard drives and in most cases have also uploaded all or a substantial part of the stolen film to others,” the lawsuit states, according to a transcript obtained by the Hollywood Reporter.
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Kellan Lutz, another star of the film, was more optimistic about “The Expendables 3” piracy, telling the AP people who downloaded copies will want to enjoy the gunfire and explosions as the sound was intended to be heard.
“I actually think they’re going to want to watch in theaters because it’s a good movie,” he said. “They’re going to watch it online, then they’ll be like, ‘I have to watch this in theaters now,’ because all the one-liners that kind of go under-layered throughout the action, you can’t just hear that on a little iPad or computer.”