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Did the Leak Save Wolverine’s Word of Mouth?

Maybe! EW is reporting that, despite being leaked online and downloaded by thousands a full month before its release date, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is still tracking strong, with consumer-research data showing a "high 'wanna see' rating for the film, which is said to be the No. 1 choice for young men and guys aged 31 and older." By any logic, the fact that an unfinished work print of the movie — featuring hilarious unfinished special-effects shots that you won't see in the less-exciting theatrical version — is freely available on the Internet should spell disaster for Wolverine's tracking polls and eventually its opening weekend. So what the hell is going on here?

Had it not leaked, this is the time when people on the Internet (including us, no doubt) would've been wildly speculating on the film's quality based on its trailer, publicity campaign, promotional pizza tie-in, and reported reshoots. Instead, though, the very bloggers who'd probably be writing this thing off are refusing to post reviews of an unfinished product and shaming downloaders.

Additionally, the larger media outlets, which would probably have otherwise held all Wolverine coverage until the week of its release, have been breathlessly reporting on every new development since it leaked, declaring the movie a would-be "tentpole" and a "blockbuster," even though the pre-leak buzz was that it looked more like a potential loser.

A search on Twitter reveals that — apart from those actively watching the leaked work print while tweeting — more than a few people actually seem to be genuinely excited to see Wolverine in a theater.

So will this thing be a hit? Tracking numbers have certainly been wrong in the past, so who knows! But if it's a money loser, Fox probably won't be able to blame that on negative publicity or bad word of mouth.

'Wolverine' tracking data: Interest in the film remains high, despite Internet leak [Hollywood Insider/EW]
Earlier: Eight Reasons Not to Download Wolverine

Photo: Fox