Actor Eddie Peng in Wu Kong.
One of the most anticipated films of the summer season, Wu Kong, suffered an early blow when a leaked version of the film was circulated online before its scheduled premiere last Sunday.
Wu Kong is a film adaptation of Wu Kong's Biography, written by Zeng Yu under the pseudonym of Jin Hezai, which is actually an alternative and post-modern narrative of the stories of the rebellion of the freedom-seeking monkey demon Sun Wukong, the Monkey King from the ancient Chinese fantasy classic Journey to the West.
The book, seemingly a hybrid of Journey to the West and Stephen Chow's cult classic A Chinese Odyssey, became an instant hit and is now a cultural phenomenon, having been sold nearly 10 million copies since 2001. It is especially popular on university campuses across China.
The film adaptation is directed by Derek Kwok, who co-directed Stephen Chow's top-grossing Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons in 2013. It stars Shawn Yue and Eddie Peng.
However, just one day before the scheduled premiere, an early rough cut of the film, running for one hour 58 minutes, was leaked online. Without ending credits and visual effects, the rough version spread wildly on the pirate websites and social networks and apps.
The film's producers are investigating the leak, and discussing a possible solution; however, they have not yet openly responded to the disaster, according to sources.
There is a precedent for the incident, as an "incomplete and early version" of the working print for X-Men Origins: Wolverine found its way onto the internet and hundreds of thousands of downloads occurred before 20th Century Fox could stop it in 2009.