I saw Wolverine in theaters. I paid $8 for my ticket and $5 for popcorn, heavy on the heart attack sauce. But I still don't know why 4 million people downloaded that piece of poo.
The movie industry would like to tell you that those 4 million downloads are totally equivalent to 4 million lost tickets at an average cost of 7 bucks a piece according to the Hollywood Reporter's figures, knocking about $28 million off its weekend total, which was a still respectable $85 million, though less than X3's opening weekend gross of $103 million.
It's not. Even discounting the few people brave enough for a repeat viewing of this crime against decency—adamantium bullets, really?—pirates who are piratey pirates were never going to pay to see it anyway, and the incredible download numbers undoubtedly drew more of them in. It's like a YouTube video with 2 million views. It makes you more likely to click.
But 4 million is still something of a watershed number. 1 million downloads was pretty damn good. 4 million is berzerk. The Dark Knight hasn't even sold 4 million copies on Blu-ray, and it's like the biggest thing ever on the format.
That's fairly incredible buzz for a thoroughly lackluster movie that's a bona fide wolverine fart in summer filled with actually good blockbusters, hype it likely would've never achieved otherwise. And being able to talk about all those millions of downloads in the press is just one slice of this illicit hype machine. (If Fox was smart, they would include the bootleg workprint as a special feature on the Blu-ray.)