There have been new developments regarding the theft and posting of a nearly complete workprint of Fox's upcoming X-Men Origins: Wolverine on Tuesday on the Internet. The FBI and the Motion Picture Association of America were reportedly investigating the source of the leak, and Fox promised to prosecute the offender vigorously.
As speculation mounts around who may have posted the movie and why, director Gavin Hood has spoken up to The Hollywood Reporter's Risky Business blog, denying reports of on-set bad blood between himself and Fox chief Tom Rothman, calling the reports "upsetting" and saying he has "never had a stand-up argument with Tom Rothman" beyond the usual studio-director back-and-forth.
An Australian visual effects company that worked on X-Men Origins: Wolverine, meanwhile, said Thursday it was not responsible for leaking a full-length work print online, though the company's name—Rising Sun Pictures—appears in a caption dated March 2 a few minutes into the high-quality leaked copy, the Associated Press reported.
"As we worked on individual sequences within the film, neither Rising Sun Pictures [nor] 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," Rising Sun Pictures chairman and co-founder Tony Clark said in a statement posted on the company's Web site Thursday.
As fans sites such as Ain't It Cool News decried the early posting of the movie, Fox issued a statement saying, "We are encouraged by the support of fan sites condemning this illegal posting and pointing out that such theft undermines the enormous efforts of the filmmakers and actors, and above all, hurts the fans of the film."
Daily Tech reported that there are growing rumors and speculation that the studio itself intentionally leaked the film to generate buzz or get feedback on the movie—something that seems patently absurd, given the potential loss Fox faces.
Fox reportedly first heard about the breach at about 7 p.m. Tuesday night and began assessing the damage to the movie, which debuts May 1, the site reported. According to Fox's statement: "We forensically mark our content so we can identify sources that make it available or download it. The source of the initial leak and any subsequent postings will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. ... The FBI and the MPAA also are actively investigating this crime."
Fox said in a statement Wednesday that it had the original file removed, but copies quickly propagated and continue to appear on several file-sharing Web sites.