Prior to the release of ‘Expendables 3’ a pirated copy of the film had been made available on file sharing sites and was downloaded by several million users. Producers of the film have been seeking to pursue damages against the individuals who made the un-released copy available before it hit theaters.
According to the BBC, two men in their mid 30s have been arrested and taken to police stations in the UK for questioning.
The detrimental financial impact of digital piracy has meant that many films released in theaters have lost millions of dollars in box office receipts. Due to the facilitation of illegal downloads, it is argued that people who would have normally gone to watch a release at the cinema, instead opt out because they have a free copy to watch at home. Once a download is made available and shared, people can access content for free at the expense of the producer’s investment, which is recouped in part, from box office returns.
While individual downloaders may not necessarily be held fully accountable for damages resulting from a film’s loss of physical sales, individuals who facilitate illegal downloads are being targeted by production companies more aggressively.
‘Expendables 3’ grossed a total of $39 million at the domestic box office, with a weaker opening weekend of $15.8 million. Analysts had expected the film to make at least $20 million in ticket sales in its opening week.