In recent months many films have skipped the box office or faced delays due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This was also the case for Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated sci-fi thriller ‘Tenet,’ which was initially scheduled to premiere in July.
After several delays, Warner Bros. eventually chose a staggered release schedule, which started last week. The film came out in Australia, Canada, Germany, the UK, and South Korea, among others, with the US, Russia and China following in a few days.
In the lead up to the official premiere, there was a lot of piracy chatter. The highly anticipated movie and the staggered release could create a perfect piracy storm, one anti-piracy expert predicted.
Warner Bros. was also on high alert. The company took down several copies of leaked Tenet footage that appeared in theaters during the re-release of Inception. In addition, it also took down many ‘fake’ pirate releases of Tenet that surfaced on torrent sites and elsewhere.
Pirated Copies of Tenet Appear Online
These fake releases were not really much of a threat to the movie studio. However, several pirated copies of the real Tenet film started to surface yesterday, and those are a much bigger concern.
At the moment there are various ‘camcorded’ (CAM) leaks of Tenet in circulation. These are copies of the film that were recorded in a movie theater, which tend to be very low in quality. That’s no different here.
As we’ve seen more often in recent years, some of the leaked copies are “sponsored” by a gaming brand. In this case, the URL of the casino referral site Slotslights.com appears throughout the film, inviting viewers to take a gamble.
On closer inspection, it appears that there are at least two different sources floating around. One release is tagged as a Korean CAM, and indeed, in some parts of the movie badly cropped Korean subtitles are visible.
Other copies, which don’t have any location tags, reveal parts of German subtitles, as shown below. This is also the release with the visible sponsored messages, that appear throughout the film.
It’s clear that Warner Bros. won’t be happy with these leaks and the company will likely send out hundreds of takedown requests in the days to come. That said, thus far, the download numbers are relatively modest. It’s certainly not the most downloaded movie at the moment.
This can be easily explained by the fact that one important factor for a ‘perfect piracy storm’ is missing; there is no high-quality leak available.
Not Everyone Likes Low Quality Releases
While so-called CAM releases draw plenty of attention from a subset of curious viewers, many film fans stay far away from them. They don’t fancy watching a good film in bad quality, especially not one that has advertisements and partial foreign subtitles.
When we were browsing through various comment threads, several people rated the quality of these leaks as decent. However, that means decent for a film that’s recorded in a movie theater. Others prefer to wait.
“Some movies deserve to be viewed in the best possible quality, some deserve the patience needed to be viewed. This is one such movie, I’ll be waiting,” one commenter notes.
Generally speaking, a movie’s big piracy boom comes when the first high-quality copy appears online. This was also the case with ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ and we have no reason to believe that it will be different here.