One of the initial concerns Marvel Studios and Paramount Pictures must have had about releasing “Iron Man 2” overseas before stateside was the effect online piracy could have on its box office tally. As expected, numerous illegally filmed versions of the sequel are now available on BitTorrent and peer-to-peer sites on the web. While in years past this would no doubt cause panic for any studio, in 2010 it may not be as much of a worry.
Last year, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” was posted on the web weeks before its May debut. 20th Century Fox was immediately concerned about how the picture, which already had negative buzz surrounding it, would be affected by the break. It became a major issue when it was estimated over 1 million downloads of the film occurred. The drama was so intense that freelance columnist Roger Friedman was let go at NewsCorp sister company FoxNews.com because he reviewed the film off the illegal copy. In the long run, however, it didn’t matter much as “Wolverine” became one of the biggest hits of the year grossing $373 million worldwide including $179.8 million domestic.
With “Iron Man 2” still expected to generate upwards of $150 million plus this weekend after an impressive $100.2 million debut overseas, it’s unclear how concerned Marvel or Paramount are about the film’s availability online.
There is no official comment from distributor Paramount Pictures regarding the break at this time.