August 15, 2014 was the date set for the theatrical release of “The Expendables 3.” Yet it has already been watched more than 189,000 times – all thanks to one of the file distribution system BitTorrent’s users, “Drarbg.”
While the exact source of the leak is yet to be discovered, there have been speculations about Drarbg’s identity. This user – or group of users (exact details are still being uncovered) – has/have been using several major torrent sites, releasing large amounts of data online daily.
The action movie, whose cast features big names like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jet Li, Mel Gibson, Jason Statham, and Sylvester Stallone, has been downloaded more than 200,000 times. Though The Expendables 3 was already guaranteed to make headlines after its release, the leaking scandal has brought much unneeded attention to the unreleased movie. Data gathered from Torrentfreak reveals that as many as 65,000 or more users were engaged in downloading the “DVD screener” copy of the movie from a single torrent at one point; and the numbers are just escalating with time.
While this is not the first time that a movie has been leaked online before appearing in cinemas worldwide, it is always shocking for highly anticipated blockbusters to be leaked in such a high quality print at this day and age. The last time any such movie got struck by a similar scandal was "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" in 2009. The unfinished version of the movie was leaked two months prior to its release and despite that, the movie went on to earn $373 million. However, in that case the fans were still curious and waited anxiously for the film’s scheduled release; something that will not be true for The Expendables 3, given the short time left for its release date.
Although the film’s distributor, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (USA) (LGF), might not have gone on to earn their expected $25 million from its opening weekend, they now have the leak to blame for the lower-than-expected figures. However, the leak might not be the only reason for the film not achieving its expected earnings on the opening weekend at the box office. The previous two Expendables movies have showed a declining trend in terms of the opening weekend earnings with The Expendables (2010) earning $34.8 million and The Expendables 2 (2012) earning $28.6 million on their respective opening weekends. However, The Expendables films have shown an increasing trend on the worldwide box office earnings (from $274.5 million in 2010’s The Expendables to $305.4million in 2012’s The Expendables 2) so a decline in these numbers will help establish the impact of the leak on the film's earnings.
We have to wait till August 15 to better analyze the loss suffered by the film due to the leak. The cast and crew of the movie are currently busy promoting it at San Diego Comic-Con.