With just two-weeks to go before the Blu-Ray and digital-HD versions of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” were scheduled to be released, a pirated copy of the film has been released online.
Steadicams of the film have been available in several languages for the past few months on popular Torrent sites, some became available the same day as the film’s initial release in theaters. This marks the first ‘Blu-Ray’ rip of the film however, which may cut-into the film’s opening pre-orders.
There is some debate if the versions that are available on these Torrent sites are from a Blu-Ray or DVD copy of the film. It’s hard to tell exactly since some quality is lost in the compression method used to keep the files at a relatively small (and easily downloadable) size.
It was inevitable that the Blu-Ray version would find its way onto the internet, the film surged to over $2B at the global box-office and was an enormous hit with fans. It’s unfortunate for Disney that the leak occurred before the release of the film at the home box-office, which may deter some customers from buying the authentic version during the week-one release.
Sites like TorrentFreak are estimating that over 250K people have downloaded the pirated copies, and that is in just half a day. Other popular sites like Kickass Torrents and the off-again/on-again Piratebay are also offering the illegal copy for its users.
Some fans may still wait for the authentic copy, which will offer better sound and image quality than the compressed pirated copies. Other films like “Deadpool” from FOX and smaller films like “10 Cloverfield Lane” might suffer the same fate as “Star Wars,” which is why more and more studios are hoping to make day-one digital copies a reality.
That probably won’t happen while Blu-Ray discs are still a prominent seller in our market. Despite the free online versions that are being pirated, people are still buying Blu-Ray versions of their favorite series and films from local retailers.
There’s still little doubt that “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” won’t dominate the home box-office this April, and many fans will most likely still be purchasing their own copy to have and to hold for future generations.