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Large sections of the highly anticipated film began popping up on YouTube via innocuous Spider-Man searches; the algorithm naturally then suggested similar pirated footage.
The Hollywood Reporter will not reveal the exact nature of the leaks, but they were significant, legitimate spoilers. One such leaked segment was nearly 10 minutes of the film. A lion’s share of the leaks had foreign subtitles while some had a foreign dub. The quality ranged from super grainy to quite clear.
Sony worked diligently to get the leaks booted off the platform. Within minutes of the initial postings, several of the leaks were down and slapped with the message: “Video Unavailable. This video contains content from Sony Pictures Movies & Shows, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.”
Sony did not respond to a request for comment about the situation.
Since the premiere and press screenings earlier this week, the cast and studio have been begging for those who saw the film early to not ruin it for patiently waiting fans.
No Way Home, starring Tom Holland as Spider-Man, has been the most obsessed-over film of 2021, with rumors about who is (or isn’t) in the film becoming so widespread that even talk show hosts such as Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon have pumped Spider-Man stars for information. No Way Home has also been the subject of leaks in the past, with a bootlegged version of the first trailer appearing online in August, and a YouTube personality leaking stills of alleged high-profile surprises from the film in November.
No Way Home hails from Sony’s Columbia Pictures, which controls the film rights to Spider-Man, and Disney’s Marvel Studios, home to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On Monday, before the latest round of leaks, Sony held a premiere, where executive producer and Marvel executive Victoria Alonso urged audiences to respect one another and not share spoilers.
“Don’t talk about it. Let people experience it the way they want to experience it. Because if you already know what happens, there’s no point. There are many surprises, so let people enjoy it,” Alonso told THR on the red carpet.
No Way Home combines three generations of Spider-Man movies and includes previous villain actors Willem Dafoe (2002’s Spider-Man), Alfred Molina (2004’s Spider-Man 2) and Jamie Foxx (2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2). It also stars Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jacob Batalon, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau and Benedict Wong.
Hollywood has continued its battle against piracy in 2021, in particular with blockbusters such as Black Widow and Dune, which debuted day-and-date in theaters and on streaming. No Way Home is a theatrical exclusive. More than a decade ago, 20th Century Fox’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine famously fell victim to an incomplete copy hitting online a month before its release, with the studio saying the 2009 feature was downloaded 4.5 million times, circumstances that insiders blamed for damaging its box office overseas by as much as $20 million.
Jon Watts directs No Way Home, which opens Dec. 17 and is widely expected to enjoy the top-grossing opening of the pandemic era.
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