The 10 most damaging movie leaks: From Super Mario to Wolverine
The Super Mario Bros Movie was viewed 9 million times on Twitter before it was removed
More than nine million people watched The Super Mario Bros Movie before it was removed from Twitter in one of the biggest leaks the movie industry has suffered for years.
As cybersecurity has gotten better in Hollywood over the years, screeners making their way to the internet before they're supposed to has become less commonplace but the biggest hit of the year so far fell victim to a surprise leak.
It came on Twitter through an account called "vids that go hard" and the social media network allowed the full length movie to remain viewable until 9 million people had watched it.
Read more: Super Mario Bros. smashes $1bn globally (Variety 2 min read)
The Super Mario Bros Movie became the first film of 2023 to gross over $1 billion and is still showing to packed out screens full of kids and adults alike so the bottom line won't be affected much. But that hasn't always been the case.
Mario being uploaded to Twitter is a reminder of some of the other big leaks that have cursed Hollywood in the internet age. Below, we look at 10 of the biggest leaks in Hollywood history.
The Expendables 3 | 2014
The first two Expendables movies were surprise hits, with fans flocking to the cinema for a bit of action nostalgia but three weeks before the official 2014 premiere, The Expendables 3 landed on torrent sites.
Over two million people viewed the film before its release date with Lionsgate blaming the leak for the sequel's underperformance at the box office.
Hostel: Part II | 2007
Eli Roth's indie horror came out in the wild west days of the mid-noughties when Hollywood was struggling to keep up with leakers and piracy. As a result, Hostel: Part II was the most pirated film of 2007 with DVD copies circulating around car boots world over. Roth was none too happy and predicted piracy would be a death knell for cinema.
Super 8 | 2011
JJ Abrams' much-anticipated homage to Spielberg landed in full on the internet several weeks before its official release in 2011. The fault bizarrely lay at the feet of shock jock Howard Stern whose DVD screener was used to upload the film online.
Screener disc procedures have been tightened ever since.
Hulk | 2003
Ang Lee's adaptation of the big green superhero turns 20 this year and has received something of a reappraisal but back in 2003, it was anything but smooth sailing for Bruce Banner. An uncompleted work-print of the movie was leaked online with much of the CGI work still missing and fans leaped all over it with Hulk becoming the laughing stock of forums and message boards. Bad word of mouth killed it at the box office.
Joy | 2015
David O Russell's third collaboration with Jennifer Lawrence was the target of hacking group Hive-CM8. The group released the film online and Joy, amid negative reviews, bombed at the box office despite an all-star cast of Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro.
Zombieland | 2009
Cult favourite Zombieland was the most pirated film on BitTorrent in 2009 after the film was stolen weeks before release. The leak caused Columbia to move up the release date and for co-writer Rhett Reese to say on Twitter that the over a million pirated views would kill any chance of a sequel. Which was the case for a decade.
Fury | 2014
It all started with The Interview. Seth Rogen and James Franco's satire that depicted Kim Jong-un allegedly rankled the North Korean government to such an extent that the country's intelligence agency hacked Sony and released a number of completed films online.
Those leaked included the acclaimed Brad Pitt-starring war movie Fury as well as a remake of Annie, Mike Leigh's Mr Turner and the Oscar-winning Still Alice. The hackers also released an in-development copy of the screenplay of then upcoming James Bond film Spectre, what executives really thought of Angelina Jolie, and much more.
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith | 2005
The concluding part of the prequel trilogy found itself on the internet a day before its official release in cinemas thanks to MGM employee Marc Hoaglin who had obtained a print of the movie through contacts at a post-production facility.
Hoaglin ended up in jail and Revenge of the Sith still made a fortune.
The Hateful Eight | 2014
Not a leak of the actual movie but a leak of an early version of Quentin Tarantino's screenplay. It appeared online in full in early 2014 when only three people had seen it – Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern and Tim Roth.
Tarantino promptly announced he was cancelling the movie before later reversing his decision after staging a live version of the script. To this day, no one knows who leaked it but Madsen said it wasn't him, while Tarantino said it was Roth, but the guilt likely lay at the feet of an agent.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
It was the leak that rocked Hollywood. A workprint of the X-Men prequel was uploaded to torrent sites a full month before its 2009 release and to make matters worse, it was a version that was nowhere near completion.
Read more: Movies that were impacted by the writers strikes
Green screen was visible, there were no title credits and prop wires could be seen everywhere. The fallout was wide: the leaker was prosecuted and sent to prison, a Fox employee who reviewed the workprint was fired and Gavin Hood's film is still considered one of the worst superhero movies.