Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight and Alejandro González Iñárritu's The Revenant starring Leonardo DiCaprio have already leaked online ahead of their Christmas Day openings. Two blockbuster films joined by a list of titles leaked this week including Creed, Legend, In the Heart of the Sea, Joy, Steve Jobs, Concussion, Spotlight, The Danish Girl, and Bridge of Spies. A list that continues to grow by the hour. Already, this is shaping up to be one of the worst cases of piracy to ever hit Hollywood.
All the leaks are of exceptional quality for early releases with "DVDScr" in the title suggesting DVD screeners — DVDs issued to critics and awards voters — as the source content. The leaks began on December 20th with a note saying The Hateful Eight was just one of 40 screeners that the so-called CM8 "scene group" would be releasing. "Will do them all one after each other," read the footnote, "started with the hottest title of the year, the rest will follow." All but The Revenant have been leaked under the name "Hive-CM8."
Screengrab from leaked version of Creed.
Yesterday the FBI tracked the source of the Hateful Eight leak to a DVD screener sent to Andrew Kosove, co-CEO of Alcon Entertainment, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Kosove says he never saw the DVD, whose delivery was accepted by an office assistant. The screener was sent to Kosove for awards consideration and identified by invisible watermarks embedded in the playback.
Screengrab from leaked version of The Revenant.
Leaks of Hollywood films are not new. However, these typically occur after general release and the quality is usually limited to that of a handheld HD camera until the movies are available via legitimate channels. In 2009, a rough cut for X-Men Origins: Wolverine leaked weeks before the finished version hit theaters. Last year The Expendables 3 leaked online nearly a month before its official release. The movie was downloaded by more than 10 million people causing it to lose a claimed $250 million in revenue.
TorrentFreak estimates that The Hateful Eight has already been shared more than a million times. A number that will undoubtedly take money off the table for Weinstein Co, the film’s distributor, and "stir up anti-piracy sentiment in Hollywood like never before."