X-Men Origins: Wolverine | The Leak Comes To Jordan’s DVD Black Market

The entertainment industry seems all abuzz about the online leaking of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” – the set-to-be blockbuster of the upcoming summer season. The leak has now spread through the Internet in just a matter of hours. In fact, the long-awaited flick was unleashed on the Web on Tuesday. Earlier tonight (Wednesday) I almost passed out when I saw it in downtown Amman in one of the black market DVD shops. At first, I refused to believe that it was a real copy; I have seen movie leaks before, but never this early (one month prior to release), especially with a blockbuster where directors and studios are typically editing to the last minute. Yet, I was assured.

I sat down with a couple of friends and popped in the movie. Sure enough, it was spot on. There’s no doubt that it’s a fake. It’s the real deal. BUT. Something didn’t feel right. The colors were a little faded and even the music was a bit off. About 10 minutes in to the movie a scene appears in which the title character is flying in a hi-tech plane, except what you really see is a rough sketch of a plane in the air (think Microsoft Flight Simulator, the 1995 edition).

Turns out, the leak is a workprint and most of the digital and special effects have not yet been placed. How bad? Well, 15 minutes in to the film, Ryan Reynold’s character, Deadpool, steps off an elevator and runs through a narrow room of machine-gun shooting Haitians, chopping up their bullets with his quick sword work, and as he jumps through the air and comes in for a smooth landing, you see the ropes still attached to Reynold’s back.

So, bottom line, if you’re an X-Man fan and you’ve been waiting to see this film for ages, like I have, this is the moment where you click on the “stop” button, take out the DVD and crack it in half. Don’t ruin the cinematic experience. You can watch this version afterward for humor.

I have to admit, this case has really got me thinking about film piracy. In Jordan, we don’t get the latest films in the cinema and it’s hard to survive as a movie buff. If the latest movies were in cinema I would go more often, but they’re not, so we have to rely on pirated copies. Wolverine is an example of a movie that I would be prepared to watch an early leak, but still go to watch it in cinemas when it comes out. But this latest case just makes me wonder if maybe pirates have gone too far. No true fan would want to watch a watered-down version of Wolverine, or any film really that relies on special effects.

In any case, the main reason I’m writing about this is because it reminded me how bootlegs used to work in Jordan. We used to get a monthly subscription at places like Video House, who rented out VHS and Betamax copies of films. Then the Internet came around and places started selling DVD copies for 1JD. The black market of pirated DVDs flourished in the past 2 to 3 years, and it’s no longer Video House, where the guy behind the counter knows little about movies. The guys who run these businesses watch every flick that comes their way.

The common denominator in this on-going legacy of pirated movies is speed. How quickly can they attain a copy of a movie you really want to watch? Today, it all depends on the Internet and user interaction: tell them what you want and if it’s available, you’ll see it on the shelf the next day.

So last night pretty much marked a milestone in Jordan’s DVD black market, as stores started selling Wolverine withing 24 hours of the leak.

Anyways, Fox had this to say about it’s leaked blockbuster, which might put a dent in its earnings:

“Last night, a stolen, incomplete and early version of X-Men Origins: Wolverine was posted illegally on websites. It was without many effects and had missing scenes and temporary sound and music. We immediately contacted the appropriate legal authorities and had it removed. We forensically mark our content so we can identify sources that make it available or download it.

The source of the initial leak and any subsequent postings will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law – the courts have handed down significant criminal sentences for such acts and the last person who committed such a crime is still in jail.

The FBI and the MPAA also are actively investigating this crime. We are encouraged by the support of fansites condemning piracy and this illegal posting and pointing out that such theft undermines the enormous efforts of the filmmakers and actors, and above all, hurts the fans of the film.”


  • lol that was close, now we have to “wait” 1 month After the movie is out, till we get a decent dvd rip :@

  • Just to add to my above comment, the video is not any adult content (I.e. you can ignore the XXX in the title), and it is relevant to the subject posted as well πŸ™‚

  • the obvious reason for the growing dvd black market in jordan, is the insane dvd prices at the official dvd stores.
    a title like Iron Man which is selling for around $20 in america, is priced over 40JD here.

    before anybody talks about the black market, complain to the mighty jordanian customs on original dvds.

  • ps. im saying this because 90% of dvds sold from those shops arent even dvd quality.
    they are either screen-recorded, or compressed to lower the size.

    as someone who used alot dvd burning and editing software, i can imagine how do they create those dvds. they get them through torrents and from various forums.

    for me, i cant watch a movie if it wasnt the original quality, it kills the whole point of enjoying it.

    my advise, dont waste your money even if it was a couple of jd.
    im just glad i have paytv channels.

  • Actually i don’t mind DVD piracy… I feel it is not fair to sell a DVD for $20 or JD40… when some families around the globe live on less than $1… the point is if people can watch it for 1 JD then mabrouk for them!

  • like i said, maybe its just me.
    but if original dvd prices were similar to america, things would be much better.
    plus there should dvd renting stores which i didnt see here, if you dont want to buy.

    and about the families who live on $1, well i dont think such people know what a dvd is or have a tv?

  • Well I have been in Jordan for less than a year now and have collected 300+ DVD’s from my childhood films to the latest releases. I always demand to watch the DVD before I actually purchase it. I have even sent many back to London.

    I have witnessed a lhigh number of DVD shops actually closing down and concentrating on selling computer parts due to being rushed by customs.

    Illegal DVD’s will start being sold underground and not publically like they are now and they will become more expensive as there is more risk.

    Blockbuster franchise should start opening up around town but there will be many problems membership loyalty, with late DVD’s returns and how to enforce fines……

  • @ yazan.
    blockbuster coming in? are you sure? thats good news. and about membership loyalty, i dont think its big issue and im sure they will solve it.

    and are you sure you mean exactly $1 ? because a dollar means i live like those starving families in africa.

  • sorry for double posting. but madas i just realized your point, and you have a good point, and piracy will last forever wether we like it or not. what i said only reflects my opinion but i think you misunderstood my words.
    go have a look at dvd store online that are based in america, you will see the average dvd is selling for $20, while in jordan the same dvds are selling for over jd40, this is the problem.
    and if you dont want to buy you can rent, because i only watch the dvd once and throw it.
    its also better than building a mountain of pirated dvds in your room.

  • @original – I meant that some of these DVD sellers should team up put some money together and purchase franchise of blockbusters, they have they infrastructure, theyhave the knowledge and more importantly they have customers.

  • its doesnt work like that πŸ™‚
    if they have a blockbuster license (which means milions) theres no pirated dvds anymore.
    unless they pass it to the black market (which means they lose money) and nobody is dumb to do it.

  • lol …. I bet blockbuster would be thrilled ! they are as broke as one wheeled bicycle and physical presence of a “video house” is so …. 1990

  • @original – eh yeah I do understand that if they have a blockbuster franchise they wont be able to legally sell pirated DVD’s in their store its not exactly rocket science is it?, however they can still sell it under the table like one of the big brand ehhmm wink wink nudge nudge “Sir Rihacrd Bansorn” stores in Amman (sells original DVD’s but u can still request pirates and staff will supply, I will not mention any names – supply and demand my friend thats the game). Ok its not legal but hey thats what pirates are about. Another thing Mr Original I dont know how you came up with “millions” as a cost of franchising Blockbusters. Furthermore I dont understand how they will lose money if they pass it on to the underground black, market please elaborate. I personally think that pirated DVD’s will double in price because there is more risk and therefore more money will be made. Basically just because Blockbuster is introduced it does not mean pirates will disappear, pirates will always be around finding new ways to outwit the law and trust me in Jordan they have been doing it for soooo long…..the introduction of a blockbusters or a rental company with a reputation will cater for those who tend buy (pirated DVD’s) and throw, and the pirates will cater for the ones who keep and take pride in a collection of oldies and latest good quality DVD’s

    @bambam – Serious are they broke?

    Generally Jordanians have potential when it come to things like this, I remember when watching the world cup here in 2006 and euros in 2008 everytime the satelite channel was scrambled my cousin received a txt on his mobile within seconds and everything returned to normal without paying a penny for any subsrciption……

  • you think such franchise are dumb enough to open here in that environment?
    you think they dont know about all this?

    the government can shut them down in a single day, but they know it wont work because theres no market share for originals.

  • original – In the UK there are Pirate radio stations, Pirate DVD’s and many many counterfeit products from clothes, watches and perfumes. Most up and coming talented music artists probably done a set or two on Pirate radio stations, Craig David began his career on pirate radio stations as an MC. In fact pirate radio stations are starting to dig into the advertising revenue, furthermore *KIss FM actually started out as a pirate underground radio station.London is swarmed with DVD rental outlets, however you can still get hold of a pirated DVD if you look hard enough. *It would not surprise me if Hamudeh DVD was left to operate under certain regulations and obtain distribution rights for original DVD’s from a wide range of studios. he has the links the structure and know how.

    the government can shut who down exactly? no market share for originals are you crazy (remember in this context we are talking about its only for rent!!!). If you are referring to Pirates then your very wrong again as the governement is finding it very hard to control this problem even with the help of Talal Abu Ghazaleh IP division.

    To be honest I dont understand your arguments, or are you just arguing for the sake of it?

  • Was dissapointed when I saw the piracy, it must have spoilt lots of sales. Though it was interresting seeing the strings and graphics, those are for the Extra sceene or the making on DVDs. Nevertheless, i will go to the cinema to pay my respects. That was quite a story, would want to watch the real thing possibly with a little more suprise but I feel for the producers.

  • Well, look at the bright side…you got to understand how they generate the cool effects….or, maybe you bought the “Making of X-Men” πŸ™‚

    Heres the thing, I’m not working in an organization that advocates for copy rights issues nor will I get into the argument of “is it right to buy these copies or not?”

    But do we really have to depend on these copies? I think that it could be the price issue.

    If I was a real movie fan (and I am) why do I have to watch a movie in such a low quality (and I do) !!

    Maybe if we had good offerings/pricing, like the one we see outside Jordan or the ones online, may be this will change and people will be more encouraged to buy original DVDs!

  • Bashar – you make a valid point, but you have to consider taxes that are put on these DVD’s. its much like anything else that you purchase in Jordan. how much are a pair of levis? and compare them to how much they are in the states or online its the same % difference dependiong on where you buy them….footlocker sells trainers at an extremely high price when compared to the footlocker in the UK. same goes for cars much cheaper in the US and UK….these taxes are standard…and this is a part of how the country makes money baring in mind we have little exports and no natural resources apart from phosphates!!!!!

  • so the government should lower the importing taxes on them. i know its impossible but if jordan is interested in a little development in technology, should do it among a dozen of things.

    i still curious how the original dvd shop owners are suriving? they know that the taxes they are paying to import to jordan is what driving prices up.

  • I have seen the movie.. I was very disappointed. It was too careless of them for the copy of the film to be available in black market…. a lot of copies are for sale everywhere

    I will still prefer to watch it in the movie house…

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