Holiday Season Top Movies Heavily Pirated Before Releases

Shortly after screeners were sent to voters for awards consideration, some of Hollywood’s top movies of the current holiday season — most notably “The Revenant” and “The Hateful Eight” — have been pirated. Within a 24-hour period after being posted by Hive-CM8 and other piracy groups, “The Revenant” was downloaded to over 739,580 unique IP addresses, and “The Hateful Eight,” to 569,153 IP addresses. Both are slated to premiere on Christmas Day. “Creed,” although already released, logged 499,082 illegal downloads.

Variety notes that the piracy leak is a second major blow for “The Hateful Eight.” The script was leaked online last year, almost killing the project. Other Oscar contenders that have also been released illegally online include “Joy,” “Steve Jobs,” “Carol,” “Room,” “Legend,” “In the Heart of the Sea” and “Brooklyn.”

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Pirate group Hive-CM8, has taken credit for its leaks, and explained that it “started with the hottest title of this year, the rest will follow.” TorrentFreak reports the pirated copy is “extremely clean and free from timestamps.”

Other recently pirated films include “The Expendables 3,” leaked online three weeks before its U.S. premiere, and “Game of Thrones” season 5 premiere, which was leaked via an advance DVD screener. That latter experience pushed HBO to shift to a streaming-only policy for advance reviews.

In a high profile leak last year, Academy Awards host Ellen DeGeneres was linked to a leaked screener of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” that appeared on file-sharing piracy sites in January 2014.