Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is one of the most anticipated films of the year, but now studio bosses are panicking as the first 36 minutes appeared on download sites prior to the film’s premiere.
Torrent sites were awash with the footage, which stars British actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, and it soon became the most searched-for title on download sites.
The franchise has suffered more than its fair share of leaks in the past. Pages from the book of The Deathly Hallows were famously leaked on the internet prior to publication, leading to massive lawsuits.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood prince, the most recent film in the franchise, was one of the most pirated films of last year, with nearly 8 million downloads recorded.
But online news site TorrentFreak speculated that this particular leak could actually help, not hinder, the new film, which is expected to become one of the highest-grossing films in history after its worldwide release this weekend.
Because the leak is only 36 minutes long, viewers will be forced to go to the cinema and buy a ticket – unless, of course, the rest of the film ends up finding its way online.