LOS ANGELES – Not even pirates can stop Wolverine.
Audiences weren’t deterred from watching “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” on the big screen despite a full-length version of the superhero prequel clawing its way online last month.
The 20th Century Fox movie grabbed the No. 1 spot at the weekend box office with an estimated US$87-million opening, toppling the first two “X-Men” films – but not the third, according to studio estimates Sunday.
While copies of the work print, which Fox said was “without many effects, had missing and unedited scenes and temporary sound and music,” continue to appear on several file-sharing Web sites, movie-goers still lined up to see how the feral “X-Men” bad boy played by Hugh Jackman was first outfitted with his razor-sharp paws.
“I started watching it online but didn’t finish because it didn’t have any of the special effects,” Jason Nguyen said outside of the AMC Burbank 16 before a Friday show. “It seemed like something you would just watch on the DVD after seeing the real movie. I just didn’t think watching that would compare to watching the finished one with all the special effects.”
Another movie-goer, Christina Ruiz, said outside the Pacific Theatres Glendale 18, that she didn’t think watching a movie on the Internet “really compares to watching it in a movie theater, and just because you watch something online doesn’t mean you’re not going to go to the movies. It’s different.”
“I really liked the first ‘X-Men’ movies and went to see them with all of my friends,” Ruiz said.
FoxNews.com chief entertainment columnist Roger Friedman and the Fox News organization “mutually agreed to part ways immediately” after Friedman boasted about watching the movie’s leaked version at his desk.
“It took really less than seconds to start playing it all right onto my computer,” Friedman wrote in his Fox 411 column on FoxNews.com last month. “I could have downloaded all of it but really, who has the time or the room? Later tonight I may finally catch up with Paul Rudd in ‘I Love You, Man.’ It’s so much easier than going out in the rain!”
After the work print was leaked, studio co-chairman Tom Rothman told Entertainment Weekly the pirated version was “about 10 minutes shorter” than the complete theatrical version. But the running time for the theatrical version – 107 minutes – was exactly the same.
“If they watch (the leaked work print), will they get the story? Sure, but there are 400 visual-effects shots that aren’t complete and Harry Gregson-Williams’ score isn’t in the movie,” director Gavin Hood said. “So I almost want to say, ‘Why did you do this to yourself? You’re such a fan of Wolverine, why do you want to see something that isn’t ready?”‘
Other than the completed effects and sound, possibly the biggest difference between the two versions are secret endings. Hood said two different post-credit “Easter egg” scenes play on separate prints. The leaked work print’s final scene stars Wolverine, but another ending exists that features the film’s villain.
AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen contributed to this story.
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