The first 36 minutes of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, produced by Warner Bros, was on Tuesday leaked to the Internet ahead of the movie’s release this Friday.

The movie’s eye-popping numbers were talked about even as it turned up on a file-sharing network BitTorrent ahead of the film’s world-wide premiere.

Meanwhile, Warner Bros studio on Wednesday said it is working to remove the Internet leak of the movie.

In a statement, Warner Bros said the excerpt was stolen and illegally posted on the Internet constituting a serious breach of copyright violation and theft of its property.

We are working actively to restrict and/or remove copies that may be available. Also, we are vigorously investigating this matter and will prosecute those involved to the full extent of the law, said the Time Warner Inc studio.

According to a post linking to its file on Torrent index and magnet link provider, Pirate Bay, wrote in a post that the footage came from a screener of the movie. Burned DVDs sent out by a studio for publicity purposes with portions of a movie. But, a Warner Bros spokesman said the footage could not have come from a screener as it had not created screeners of its new Harry Potter movie.

The studio is investigating the leak but has not yet determined the source, the spokesman said.

The new Harry Potter film is expected to gross more than $100 million in the US and Canada over its first three days in theatres, starting on November 19. Industry watchers are predicting a full run of more than $1 billion in global ticket sales.

The first six Harry Potter movies, which are based on the best-selling books about a British boy wizard by author J.K. Rowling, have earned $5.42 billion at world-wide box offices, according to California-based BoxOfficeMojo.com.

Online US movie ticket seller Fandango said more than 2,200 showtime for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 had sold out ahead of the film’s Friday opening, Reuters reported.

On MovieTickets.com, the new Harry Potter movie was the no.5 bestseller of all time for advance ticket sales just behind Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

The seventh and penultimate movie about the adventures Harry and his Hogwarts School friends will get its largest-ever opening on Imax screens. Imax said Deathly Hallows would hit 239 of its screens in North America, and 117 screens internationally.

The final book in the series is split into two films. The film franchise ends its run in July 2011 with Deathly Hallows: Part Two, which will be in 3D, media reports said.

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