There’s a whole host of new baddies in town. Instead of Stallone, Statham and Schwarzenegger taking down the villainous Mel Gibson, the company behind Expendables 3 is going after everyone who downloaded pirated copies of the movie.
The film’s producer Avi Lerner confirmed to Variety that he and production company Millenium Films are pursuing torrent-users by locating their IP addresses. These individuals will then receive a letter which asks them to pay a sum of money as a settlement. If they don’t, the case may be taken to court.
The producer estimated that since last week about 50,000 letters have been sent out, and he made it clear that the company has IP addresses for millions more.
“We will carry on until we get everyone,” Lerner said, sounding much like a vengeful action hero himself.
Expendables 3 did badly in cinemas last August, earning just $38 million (£23 million) compared with the first film raking in $103 million (£62 million) in 2010.
Critics and audiences have suggested many possible reasons for the box office flop, including a tired storyline, but Lerner attributes the film’s lack of success to a leaked copy that went viral online three weeks before it was officially released.
He estimates that between the movie being leaked and it opening in cinemas, more than 10 million people illegally downloaded the action title.
“That was 10 million people who stole the movie. We want to go after those 10 million people.”
The notice sent out by the studio has been posted on several message boards by those supposed offenders who have already received it.
“You may be held liable for monetary damages, including court costs and/or attorney fees if a lawsuit is commenced against you for unauthorized copying and/or distribution of the Work listed above. You have until Sunday, October 5, 2014 to access the settlement offer and settle online.”
Of course, nobody knows whether the threats will go any further and Lerner says the letters are primarily meant to deter people from downloading pirated copies of films in the future.
“We want to show the world that by downloading the movie they might get punished. The problem is if you steal a car, and you get caught, you go to jail. If you steal intellectual property, people don’t do anything to you. I want to protect our property and the thousands of people who made our movie.”
Whether or not the letters lead to a slew of settlement payments and court cases, Lerner clearly means business.