Pirated copies of movies leak all year round, usually after they come out on streaming services or through digital release. That by itself is nothing special.
Screener releases are a notable exception to this rule. These are advance copies of recent movies that are generally sent out to critics and awards voters.
The screeners are supposed to remain private but every year a few end up in the hands of pirates. These leaked copies are then published online, sometimes months ahead of their official release dates.
‘The Power of the Dog’ Screener
That’s exactly what happened to two Netflix titles over the past hours. While ‘screener season’ usually starts around December, a leaked copy of the Netflix movie “The Power of the Dog” was published on Sunday.
The film, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst, is officially scheduled to copes on December 1st. However, over the past few hours, tens of thousands of pirates already grabbed an early copy.
The leak was published by the pirate release group EVO, which also released the first screeners last year. The source is an online screener, which has become the new standard in recent years.
The release is tagged as a ‘WEBSCREENER’ which confirms that the copy was obtained from a screener copy made available over the Internet. While some had hoped that these online releases would be easier to secure, the current leak clearly shows that there are weak spots.
TorrentFreak contacted EVO to found out more about the source for this screener, but the group said that it can’t say anything about the ‘festival’ it’s connected to due to security reasons.
‘The Guilty’ Screener
The release group did mention, however, that another movie would be leaked soon. And indeed, after a few hours, another prominent Netflix screener was posted online. This time it’s the Jake Gyllenhaal film “The Guilty.”
The.Guilty.2021.WEBSCREENER.XviD.AC3-EVO has since been republished on various pirate sites. The movie officially premieres in early October, which means that pirates can see it earlier than paying subscribers.
These screeners appear to be too early for the Academy Awards. And since EVO suggested that the leaks are sourced from festival screeners, we have to look elsewhere.
Interestingly, both “The Power of The Dog” and “The Guilty” are in the screener lineup of the annual Vancouver International Film Festival (TIFF). This festival started last Thursday and is currently ongoing.
Like many other festivals, TIFF hosts both in-person and online screenings. The latter has become increasingly common during the COVID pandemic.
While we can’t know for sure where these leaks come from, it’s pretty clear that screeners can still leak when festivals and award shows move to digital screeners only, which is the case for the Oscars as well.
“Let’s hope the season starts,” EVO told us, referring to the traditional ‘pirate screener season.’ However, the group didn’t say whether more films are expected to leak anytime soon.