Did Piracy Make "The Expendables 3" Expendable?

It was a disappointing weekend for Sly Stallone and The Expendables 3 movie. Many people blame a bad script or burnout because it was a threequel or is it because a pristine HD quality of the film was leaked early? As detailed below, the studio behind the action packed movie has been battling pirates that have shared the movie online. The film finished fourth in the box office race with a take of only $16 million behind three previously released films including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Guardians of the Galaxy.
At last estimate the pirated version of the film has been seen by 2.2 million people who may or may not have headed to the theater this weekend. A similar leak didn’t hurt X-Men Origins: Wolverine which still made well over $300 million worldwide. Also, neither film  received favorable reviews. The Expendables 3 is currently rated at only 33% favorable on Rotten Tomatoes.
While piracy may have affected the box office take, the final gross may affect the decision to move forward on the all female proposed spin-off of the film entitled The Exendabelles.  Whatever way you look at it, not a good weekend to be an 80’s action star.

Originally Published on July 29, 2014.
Stallone is going to have to send in the Expendables to clean up this problem.  A full three weeks before its theatrical release, a high quality pirated version of the Expendables 3 has made its way online and is being downloaded like crazy.
Expendables 3 is not released until August 15, 2014 and features a who’s who of action stars of the 1980′s including Stallone, Gibson, Schwarzenegger and Snipes.  However, three weeks before its opening a pirated copy of the movie started appearing on Bittorrent websites.
In 2009, a similar leak occurred when a version of the X-Men Origins: Wolverine went viral pre-release.  An FBI investigation in that case lead to a Bronx man being arrested and sentenced to one year in prison for uploading the movie.
According to Variety, as of Sunday, the movie has been downloaded 1.13 million times.  In the United States, the average movie ticket cost is $8 and just assuming that half the downloads came from the United States this is more than $4.5 million in lost revenue for the action flick.  This isn’t the series’ first brush with piracy,  as the Expendables producers sued more than 23,000 Bittorrent users that had illegally downloaded the first movie in the series in 2011.
The pre-release of the movie is quite damaging to the box office return and reminds copyright owners that they need to stay vigilant to protect their intellectual property rights.  I am sure some arrests or lawsuits will result from this leak.