Ever since a not-quite-finished work print of Wolverine leaked online on Monday night, Fox executives have understandably been in a tizzy trying to figure out exactly how a copy of their $130 million film escaped their clutches. Just to prove how serious they are about putting the person (people?) responsible on the gallows, Fox has enlisted the help of the FBI in getting to the bottom of this mysterious leak. And while this combined taskforce has been unable to finger a suspect, there have been no shortage of people who have been accused of the crime.
· Was it Someone Who Hates Rupert Murdoch? Yesterday, Vulture hero Jeffrey Wells passed along a rumor that, sometime in the days immediately preceding the leak, a DVD copy of the leaked version of Wolverine landed on the desk of none other than Rupert Murdoch. Wells’ source said that “most people involved are considering the delivery a big ‘eff you’ to Murdoch and Fox.” Unfortunately for Fox, the list of people who dislike Murdoch enough to harm him in this fashion is as big as the phone book.
· Was it the Australian Effects Shop Rising Sun Pictures? The leaked version that appeared online contained a few stills that bore the watermark of RSP, who had been one of the many vendors helping to put the finishing touches on the film. The respected shop, which is also currently working on Warner Bros. summer tentpole Terminator: Salvation, quickly issued a statement denying any culpability. Founder Tony Clark had this to say: “From the reports we’ve had, the stolen material is a work in progress version of the film with many incomplete sections. As we worked on individual sequences within the film, neither RSP or its staff members have ever been in possession of a full-length version, so it would have been impossible for the movie to have been leaked from here.”
· Was It, Gasp, Fox? Occasional HuffPo columnist Scott Mendelson floated an interesting theory on his blog the other day. His theory goes something like this: What if Fox knew that it had a stinker on its hands, one that was going to certainly lose hundreds of millions of dollars, and the only way to help protect their investment was to leak a copy of the film and then try to recoup their losses by filing a claim for insurance fraud? While this certainly makes good fodder for conspiracy theorists, nary a smidge of evidence has surfaced which would help give this interesting yet ultimately outlandish theory any credence. Nothing to see here (we think).
So who was it then? Sharon Waxman is reporting over at The Wrap that Fox is currently chasing down “at least a half-dozen leads,” and that the studio has been able to trace the leak to a digital work print that’s at least one month old. She also spoke to an unnamed Fox exec who offered up the following list of potential suspects: “There’s the reproduction house sending it to the trailer company or the marketing department, there’s the director, his assistant. Unfortunately there are multiple ways it could get there (to the Internet).”
Whoever the culprit ends up being, they’re clearly in a shitload of trouble.