Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One was leaked two days before its worldwide premiere. People, you really couldn't wait two days?
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One opens tomorrow, November 18th, at midnight, but fans won't have to wait that long. According to TorrentFreak, the first 36 minutes of the film have leaked online "on dozens of BitTorrent sites." This will probably prevent exactly no-one from seeing the full film in theatres, but the tension and tone that director David Yates (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) has likely established could be dramatically lessened.
Granted, the leak is only of a fat half-hour of the film. TorrentFreak is suggesting that the truncated nature means that the source was a partial DVD screener, as opposed to a full screener, used for preview and reviewing purposes. This leads to the leak being regarded as more of an "extended preview" than a threat to ticket sales. This has not stopped Warner Bros. from getting pissed and lawyering up. The studio released a formal statement yesterday, declaring "this constitutes a serious breach of copyright violation and theft of Warner Bros. property. We are working actively to restrict and/or remove copies that may be available. Also, we are vigorously investigating this matter and will prosecute those involved to the full extent of the law."
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was illegally downloaded over 8 million times last year, and still managed to eke out a worldwide gross of over $934 million. There's no way on earth Deathly Hallows won't top that. Sure, 36 leaked minutes of one of the year's biggest movies stings. I do think, though, that over a billion dollars in worldwide sales would be a pretty effective balm.