The group behind the controversial leak of screeners this holiday season has apologized for leaking The Hateful Eight before its premiere. In an unprecedented announcement Hive-CM8 say they never intended to hurt anyone and now believe that the leak has resulted in free "media hype" on a scale bigger than Star Wars.
Without doubt the biggest piracy story of December was the drama surrounding the relentless stream of movies hitting the Internet from release group Hive-CM8. All more-or-less perfect copies of awards screeners, the leaks attracted attention from studios and even the FBI.
As law enforcement presumably continues to track the release group, leaks from Hive-CM8 have faltered somewhat, with sources pointing to a potential security breach as the reason.
However, after maintaining almost total silence, the people behind Hive-CM8 have not only released a couple more movies but have also broken their silence.
Their statement, aimed at close colleagues in private channels, is surprising to say the least. It accompanies the release of the Christian Bale movie The Big Short and begins with an admission that errors have been made. (some typos/grammar corrected by TF)
“We held back this title till 1 week after [theatrical release] to give the movie a fighting chance to play in the budget, we learned from our mistake,” Hive’s statement begins.
“We didn’t plan to comment at all on recent events, but we feel now that we should.”
First off, the group attempts to dispel rumors that the leaked screener copies had been sourced after some kind of hack.
“We got the copies sold from a guy on the street, no decryption was needed. We were definitely not the only ones [to have obtained copies]. A couple of other movies had been on the net days before, not done by us,” they note.
While the group has certainly released content in the past for notoriety, this time around Hive said it wanted to help those too poor to get the movies through official channels.
“So we wanted to share [these] movies with the people who are not rich enough or not able to watch all nominated movies in the cinema. Of course [these files] are not representing the movies how they can be enjoyed in the cinema.”
It’s not uncommon for release groups to request that those viewing ‘their’ movies should support the producers by enjoying content through official channels and in the cinema where possible. Hive is no different, noting that creators “need the money from ticket sales to get back [their] production costs.”
However, what then follows is a clear apology to Quentin Tarantino and those behind his movie The Hateful Eight. Hive leaked this title before it had even opened in cinemas, something which they now regret.
“We feel sorry for the trouble we caused by releasing that great movie before [it’s release date] had even begun. We never intended to hurt anyone by doing that, we didn’t know it would get that popular that quickly,” Hive explains.
“The Hateful Eight is an excellent, thrilling and entertaining Western that combines terrific direction, a fantastic cast, a wonderful script, beautiful photography and a memorable score. All of those elements make The Hateful Eight an unforgettable film that is Quentin Tarantino at his best.”
But while acknowledging that tickets sales fund production costs and apologizing for their actions, Hive say they believe the leak of The Hateful Eight won’t do long-term damage to the title and has probably even helped it.
“Since everyone is now talking about this movie we don’t think the producers will [lose] any money [upon theatrical release]. We actually think this has created a new type of media hype that is more present in the news, radio and in the papers than Star Wars, and the promotional costs for this were free,” Hive says.
And here’s the math…..
“If let’s say 5% of the people planned to watch this movie at cinema date, due to this media push we unintentionally created, we believe that now 40% of the people will watch this movie in the cinema [because] everyone is talking about it and everyone wants to see the movie that created so much noise. This will push the cinema ticket sales for sure.
“We really hope this helped out the producers in the long-run, so that the production costs are covered and more.”
After thanking Quentin Tarantino for a “wonderful movie”, Hive notes that The Hateful Eight should be the top awards candidate and will “win by a mile” over its rivals. However, it’s pre-release will mark the last time that Hive leaks content before it appears in cinemas and for those waiting for the 40 leaks the group promised earlier, disappointment lies in wait.
“We won’t do another movie before its [theatrical release], and we definitely won’t go up to 40 as planned, we think we have done enough already,” Hive concludes.
That being said, two further screener releases have appeared in private channels during the past couple of days – The Big Short as previously noted and Golden Globe nominee Anomalisa. Both are now available publicly too, but without being attributed to Hive. Instead, both carry a generic ‘P2P’ tag.