Pirated copies of Marvel's The Avengers have begun circulating in high-quality video that appears to be ripped from DVD or Blu-ray copies of the film, according to user comments on those sites.
ComicBook.comsearched online shortly after a gag reel from the film turned up on YouTube and discovered that, indeed, it appears as though high-quality copies of the movie have already ended up online, more than a month in advance of the September 25 street date for the DVDs and Blu-Rays.
Because the movie was released earlier overseas than it was here, bootleg copies of the film turned up online before U.S. audiences even had an opportunity to see the film. While the film hit theaters in the U.S. on May 4, April 27 was the first day ComicBook.com received word that bootleg copies of the film were available online courtesy of pirates videotaping the screen at their local theater. The financial effects of piracy are still being debated; different studies find that major tentpole films lose anywhere from 30% of their total revenue to piracy all the way down to some that show it to be a statistically insignificant amount; almost every study on the matter is riddled with problems, and there doesn't seem to be a consensus on exactly how to account for the lost revenue. The Avengers, of course, is the third-highest-grossing movie of all time and has raked in more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office and $600 million domestically in spite of being in heavy rotation on pirate sites.