20th Century Fox moved a step closer to seeing justice served over the March leak of its superhero tentpole “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”
The FBI arrested Gilberto Sanchez at his Bronx home early Wednesday for allegedly illegally uploading a pirated copy of the movie to megaupload.com. He was indicted on the charges by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles last Thursday.
A U.S. Attorney’s Office source said Sanchez has no apparent ties to the film industry, which does little to solve the mystery of how the 47-year-old allegedly came to possess an unfinished copy of the film a month before it hit theaters. A Fox spokesman said the studio also doesn’t know how Sanchez got the film.
The theft sent shockwaves through the industry and is seen as Hollywood’s most damaging piracy incident to date. Though the studio has never revealed how much the theft hit its bottom line, a Fox source put the figure in the tens of millions of dollars.
The studio estimates that 15 million people downloaded the movie. If the figure is accurate and half of those who saw “Wolverine” online would have gone to see it in theaters, that’s more than $50 million in lost revenues.
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said in a statement that Sanchez was taken without incident.
Fox hailed the news of the arrest. “We support the FBI’s actions and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement to prosecute individuals who steal our movies,” a spokesman said. If found guilty, Sanchez faces three years in jail and a fine.