“Mission Impossible” Leak with Chinese Connection Floods Pirate Sites

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The latest installment of the Mission Impossible franchise has its digital release scheduled for next week, but high quality copies of the film are already circulating on numerous pirate sites. After the movie's theatrical release was previously pushed back by the COVID-19 pandemic, this pirate leak also comes with a prominent Chinese connection.

Tom Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” hasn’t had the easiest path to the silver screen.

The film’s production started right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the planned theatrical release was pushed back several times, to eventually premiere in June 2023.

With well over half a billion dollars in global box office revenues, the film has been quite a success. The mission is not complete though, as the digital release, scheduled for October 10, has not yet rolled out.

With anticipation just starting to build again, the film has suffered yet another setback. A few days ago, high-quality pirated copies of the new Mission Impossible film began circulating on pirate sites. The fact that it leaked ahead of the official digital release makes it even worse.

Mission Impossible Leaks

These types of leaks are common enough not to make the news but, in this case, something stands out. In common with the COVID-19 pandemic, all signs suggest that the leak originated from China, as evidenced by this full-screen mention of the China Film Administration that prominently appears in the leak before the movie begins.

From the pirated release


The China Film Administration (CFA) is led by the communist party of China. Among other things, it issues film screening licenses, which are displayed through an animated dragon logo at the start of films, as is the case here.

There is absolutely nothing to suggest that the Administration itself has anything to do with the leak. However, the Dragon logo does indicate that the leak is linked to China in some way or another.

Chinese Subtitles

In addition to the Film Administration’s pre-roll, the release comes with hardcoded Chinese and English subtitles. Although several pirate releases are tagged “KORSUB,” the captions represent another Chinese connection.

Hardcoded subtitles

upset mission impossible

Needless to say, Paramount Pictures and director Tom Cruise won’t be happy with this early leak. However, stopping it from spreading further is literally an impossible mission now that it’s widely circulating through hundreds of pirate sites all over the world.

Interestingly, the leak appeared shortly after the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) sent a submission to the US Trade Representative, suggesting that China could do more to combat piracy.

Rightsholders Raise Chinese Piracy Concerns

The IIPA mentioned that the film industry has signaled numerous piracy issues in China. They include the problem of illegal recording or ‘camming’ in movie theaters, a concern that was previously shared with Chinese government agencies, including the China Film Administration.

“Unauthorized camcording of movies in theaters—a key source for online audiovisual infringements—remains a significant problem in China for the film industry. Also fueling the growing camcording problem is the increasing problem of people in Chinese movie theaters using cameras, including those on handheld mobile devices, to live-stream theatrical broadcasts of films online.

“The motion picture industry has raised the camcording issue with relevant Chinese government agencies, e.g., China Film Administration (CFA), NCAC, and the China Film Distribution and Exhibition Association (CFDEA),” IIPA added.

The good news is that “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” didn’t leak from China in a cammed version. However, this high-quality release ahead of the digital premiere might be just as bad.

Thus far, the advance pirate release hasn’t broken any records. While hundreds of thousands of people have already downloaded or streamed a copy, it appears that the hardcoded subtitles put off at least part of the potential audience.

“Two sets of subtitles that’s just silly, PASS!,” one commenter notes on a popular pirate site, with another adding that they will wait for the digital release because the subtitles are “too distracting.”


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