In a stunning development that left fans and industry stalwarts equally taken aback, the recently released DC superhero film, The Flash, made a sudden and unauthorized premiere on Twitter, radically subverting the traditional film release process.
This startling incident, as surprising as it may be, is only the latest episode in a string of unexpected revelations about the film, highlighting a reality strikingly at odds with the usual veil of secrecy expected around such major cinematic projects.
The production itself was no stranger to unwelcome attention from information leakers. Right from the initial days of production, sneak peeks began to circulate, revealing Sasha Calle in her iconic role as Supergirl, creating excitement and speculation among the expectant fanbase.
However, the gravity of these leaks intensified when the supposed secret cameo by Nicolas Cage as Superman was prematurely exposed to the public.
Twitter leak epidemic: The Flash falls victim to full-length cam footage release
A week following The Flash's premiere, a full-length cam footage version of the movie, clocking in at 2 hours and 24 minutes and boasting a reasonably acceptable video quality, made its way onto Twitter.
Despite the leaked version being pulled off the platform, The Flash was publicly accessible for eight hours before finally being removed at 1 pm ET on Sunday, June 25. In that timeframe, it received an impressive 1.7 million views.
There are some conjectures that the now-suspended account which posted the leak, @BriYoshFR, intentionally chose the early hours of Sunday to maximize viewing time before inevitable studio intervention.
This incident follows a similar event in April, when The Super Mario Bros. Movie was also prematurely unveiled on Twitter.
It seems this new form of the leak has been facilitated by CEO Elon Musk's decision to augment the video length and file size capabilities for Twitter Blue Subscribers, now permitting members to upload videos up to two hours long and as large as 8GB.
The Flash leak: A shift in film piracy trends?
While piracy in the film industry isn't new, these occurrences typically hide in the darker corners of the internet, demanding a certain level of skill and effort to locate rather than popping up in a Twitter feed. The dissemination of such leaks may indicate a shift in this trend.
Although the leaked version was only live for a short time, it doesn't necessarily mean only a few watched The Flash in its entirety on the social networking platform. Some viewers might have gone the extra mile to download the video file to their local storage for later viewing.
However, the Flash's surprise appearance on social media is unlikely to impact significantly its box office performance, which has already been underwhelming as it witnessed the sharpest domestic decline in DC's history.
Having suffered a series of leaks revealing major spoilers and unexpected cameos, it seems fitting, albeit unfortunate, that The Flash's journey should culminate with the entire film being leaked on Twitter.
The Flash continues its official screening in theaters worldwide.