‘Expendables 3’ Producer: We Want to Go After 10 Million Who Illegally Downloaded Movie

Avi Lerner Expendables 3
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Avi Lerner, producer of “The Expendables 3” and chairman of Millennium Films, said he was “devastated” by the leak of the movie in July and that the subsequent rampant Internet piracy of the movie is responsible for $250 million in lost potential revenue.

The company has taken the unusual step of pursuing individuals who downloaded the pirated copies of the movie, sending out legal letters asking for a settlement to holders of IP addresses in lieu of more substantial damages should they take cases to trial.

Lerner said that, after the movie was leaked before it opened, more than 10 million people illegally downloaded the action title. “That was 10 million people who stole the movie,” he said. “We want to go after those 10 million people.”

Lerner said that the intent isn’t just to collect losses, but to show that it is “not right to steal.”

“I want to protect our property and the thousands of people who made our movie,” he said, noting the impact that piracy has on jobs in the entertainment industry.

“The Expendables 3” sputtered on its opening weekend, after a leak of a copy of the movie spread across the Internet three weeks before opening. Lionsgate, the movie’s distributor, successfully won a restraining order against six websites that had posted pirated copies of the movie.

But Lerner said that Millennium Films decided to go after individual downloaders, a more cumbersome process in which their legal team may have to subpoena ISPs for the identities of holders of various IP addresses.

Although major studios, through the MPAA, are not pursuing such a strategy in fighting piracy, independent producers have from time to time sought out individual downloaders, given the disproportionate impact that copyright infringement has on their business. Producers of “Dallas Buyers Club,” for instance, started pursuing illegal downloaders earlier this year and filed more than 100 lawsuits across the country.

Lerner, however, indicated that the impact has been greater for “Expendables 3” because of the widespread availability of the movie before its opening day.

“It is devastating that here in America the police and the courts and Congress don’t do anything to stop people from stealing intellectual property from producers or the exhibition company,” he said.

He added, “I know President Obama has got other problems around the world, but I still don’t understand why they don’t protect the electrician, the gaffer, the people who work so hard behind the scenes.” He suggested that the influence of Google with the administration was keeping the White House from taking more aggressive action.

And he also faulted the major studios for not pursuing individual downloaders, calling their chieftains “cowards” who are too worried about protecting their image.

He said that he personally would not take any of the money collected from the legal action, and that Millennium is trying to decide where such funds will go.

“We want to stop this,” he said. The primary reason for sending the letters, he said, is as a deterrent. “We want to show the world that by downloading the movie they might get punished.”

He estimated that since last week, when they started sending out letters, about 550,000 have been sent. He indicated that they have the IP addresses for millions more and “we will carry on until we get everyone.”

He said that the calculation of $250 million in lost revenue takes into account the number downloaders and those they shared it with, as well as streaming.

“The problem is if you steal a car, and you get caught, you go to jail,” he said. “If you steal intellectual property, people don’t do anything to you.

“Unless the American government will make this a very clear punishment in the laws, nothing will change. The people will still steal.”


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  1. Jerry Goldstein says:

    Nu Image and Millennium with a trail of lawsuits, ranging from unlawful termination, money laundering, unpaid union fees and tax evasion would like us to believe they care about human labor. Their studios are famous for paying below industry standards and for going around the unions. They hire crews for next to nothing and skip on residuals and paying producers. The company has repeatedly shown disrespect for their workers and now Mr. Lerner has the arrogance to accuse President Obama for a lack of action on the matter. How about you start paying taxes and keep you production within the U.S. before you feel entitled to any benefits or protection!

  2. Dylan Gallus says:

    Hopefully this means there won’t be an Expendables 4.

  3. jj says:

    Millennium Films sucks !

  4. Beethoven says:

    Make a movie worth the money, Expendables is at best something you watch for free when you have nothing better to do.

  5. How many unpaid interns do we suppose worked on this movie? Stolen labor is theft, too.

  6. Ralf Dammel says:

    Hey Mr. Lerner,
    did you ever came to the idea that the reason might be the PG13 classification and your politics to bring the uncut or better named ‘complete film’ only on DVD/BluRay..!!!

    I saw that movie in the Cinema and told everybody not to spent a Cent on the Cinemas and wait till the uncut release is in the stores.

    Video-Piratery is a crime, i am with you but at first it was one guy of your Studio who brought that copy into the Internet ans second please don’t blame anybody else if you might made the wrong decision to cut of the hard action scenes which everybody expected in the 3rd part with all the Action Heros in.

  7. What about in europe where the laws are different is he really going to spend the time sending europeans letters ?
    IPS’s in the UK especially Virgin Media have a new 3 strike policy that was put into place earlier this year, they send you a letter educating you on legal ways to download films etc…if you have download torrents etc…

  8. Thomas says:

    They should sue theif of their team,z not stupid users.they mostly dont understand that they broke law… Lol sue users because it is easier. Lamers and bustards.

  9. Don’t make movies that suck. And if you insist you made a good movie, then why didn’t you release that one instead of Expendables 3?

  10. So piracy is the reason why actionfans refuse watch some stupid PG-13-crap including the worst CGI-explosions???? . . . It seems Mr. Lerner lives in his own stupid world where I can`t admit that he produced a s***y movie which was far far away from the audience.

  11. james says:

    The movie sucked, and they disrespected the diehard fans of the series by changing the rating to PG-13 in an attempt to cash grab. That’s why this movie flopped, not because it was leaked. I for one am glad it did.

  12. michaelstone says:

    “I know President Obama has got other problems around the world, but I still don’t understand why they don’t protect the electrician, the gaffer, the people who work so hard behind the scenes.”

    Those people already got paid. Quit frontin like you’re worried about them.

    • H. Fisher says:

      They are hired and paid because the film is expected to make money.

      If it doesn’t because of piracy, the number of gigs will diminish, so it’s safe to say that putting limits to it is a way of protecting the people that work in it.

      Which is fair too, you know.

  13. W. Howantstino says:

    What a bunch of hypocrites, its like saying tomorrow im going to write the best album in the whole wide world ever, better than anything thats ever been released before, every living person in the wolrd will be whistling, humming & dancing to my music forever more!

    Then somehow im going to let be release it on the world wide web, im not going to go after any music publisher who may have had a copy, nor am i going to go for any distributor who i let make copies, im not going to even try find out who leaked the best album in the world from within my OWN organisation, why would i want to try to explain to anyone how my inability to keep my album SAFE!

    But i am going to try a president & illegally obtain names/ip’s of people i assume to have downloaded my album & charge 100 times more than its leagally worth to recoupe even more greed than i deserve!

    In all honesty i hope goverment cracks down on corprate companies who are no more than chancing there luck because laws are so far behind, remember NO ONE PERSON OR GOVERMENT OWNS THE INTERNET THE INTERNET WAS MADE BY THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE if this is what a population of any country is doing, its because thats what the people want!


  14. I want better movies says:

    Once its digital its possible to protect. Don’t put it in a digital form until AFTER it shows in theaters idiot.

  15. Honorsedge says:

    I think the movie studio should have kept a better hold on their movie, so it wouldn’t have been leaked in the first place. How about going after the leak, and have them pay up for it. I hear it was a official copy by the studio.

    I honestly think going after 10 million people is a bit of a reach. Every movie is pirated, and they still make tons at the box office. But if the movie isn’t very good, it doesn’t do very good at the box office.

    • H. Fisher says:

      Not every movie is pirated before the premiere.

      In fact, most of them don’t get a decent rip until maybe days before of the release of the dvd/bd (which is killing sales as well).

      That’s what makes this case so dramatic, since the film looses the opportunity to make a good opening weekend all around the globe.

      It’s completely normal that they are passed off.

  16. can these people go after some specific ip address in other country ?
    are these guys going to sue people from other countries or only americans ?
    i am just asking because it sounds stupid going after some specific ip addresses ?

  17. tahin khan says:

    the action movie Expendables3 i don’t show movie becuse the movies

  18. AG Europe says:

    Whahahaha, downloading is so 2014. Buying movies or going to a cinema is so 1900. They think they lost 250 million dollar. Such a bad movie. Man, what bad acting that was. Glad her in Europe we can download!!! Nothing about stealing. Paying 15 $ for a cinema ticket that’s stealing!!!!!

  19. i imagine more people are downloading then ten years ago. yet films making billions, so to say there is a correlation. affecting gross. Look in house at who leaked your film in this environment. lol

  20. Laurie Johnson. says:

    Yeah this will be a great campaign for the Democrats.

    Since most people that watch these stupid movies are Democrats and have illegally downloaded at least one movie , then I’m all for going after them with all the power of the O’Democrat party

  21. Aaron says:

    Maybe if you’d make an original movie instead of churning out a PG-13 sequel to a shitty blow-em-up “franchise” you wouldn’t lose so much money. It’s like you have no idea what people want to see you tasteless bastard. I’m gonna download every fucking movie I want to, and if you have the balls to subpoena then I’ll tell you to fuck yourself in court.

  22. What if someone downloaded it, LIKED IT, and saw it AGAIN in the theater? Did that person contribute to your $250 million in losses?

  23. Paul Farren says:

    So that you can apologise for wasting their time?

  24. rouxrenard says:

    Or perhaps the movie was crap… or perhaps people no longer want to support rabid Zionists like Stallone and Schwarzenegger.

    • Foxhunter says:

      Oh zing let’s make this about Palestine even though it is completely irrelevant to the issue! But first may I suggest you get your timeline straight the petition came after the movie was released so your argument is invalid not to mention foul.

  25. harry georgatos says:

    The initial cut was 3&1/2 hours by director Hughes. If I was the produces I’ll bring out a heavily extended cut for home entertainment in given a choice for people to watch it again and buy it.

  26. Joey says:

    Sorry, Expendables people. You made a bad movie. You made a bad movie geared toward people who enjoyed this kind of garbage 20 years ago, except 20 years ago the action movies were actually good. You made a bad movie that no one wanted to see, as indicated by the poor box office performance of Expendables 2. You knew going in this movie would continue the downward-trending box office numbers this series has seen since the second film. You’re just being gigantic jerks going after the pirates now. Don’t hold them accountable for your failures.

    To assume that any of the 10 million pirates stole anything from you is wrong. I guarantee, most of these pirates had no intention of seeing this movie in theaters. I wouldn’t be surprised if a good majority of them didn’t even bother watching it once it was downloaded. Most just got it because, hey, its out there, might as well get it. I’m sure some watched it, and you know what? You should be happy. That means more people saw the steaming pile that is Expendables 3, and anyone involved should be thrilled about that.

    You’re placing the blame for your movie’s failure on the wrong people. Don’t try to bullcrap your way through excuses. You’re not doing this because its “wrong,” or because you want to make a statement. You are smart enough to know that will never work. The RIAA has been trying to do that for over a decade, and it hasn’t worked one bit. You’re doing this to get some extra money so your enormous write-off for the film will be a little bit smaller.

  27. jedi77 says:

    It’s interesting that because Expendables 3 was leaked, the poor Box Office performance is seen as the pirates fault. Were it not for the leak, every single one of the downloaders was apparently expected to go to the movies and pay for the ticket.

    But what about Sin City 2, another apparently unnessecary sequel, with equally poor box office performance? No leak there to explain the poor reception. So suddenly it seems that there actually are reasons, beyond pirating, that hurt movies at the box office. Being really, really bad for instance. Being unwanted. Being uninteresting to moviegoers.

    Was Expendables hurt? Yes, surely it must been hurt by the leak. But to assume that all 10 milion would been bums in seats is plain stupid. The franchise was dying in America. The opening numbers of Expendables 2 showed you that, and that film was so bad, even Stallone admitted they went overboard on the in-jokes (like Ocean’s 12). So a further decline in opening day numbers for a third entry was all but guaranteed.

  28. How about going after these streaming sites? Yes you can find them easily.. they spam the hell outta youtube and daily motion.. cut those pieces of trash loose first then you’ll have less people watching it online.. but NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! They might have the money to fight back!

  29. Dean Anderson says:

    the first expendables was good, and the second one was stupendous. both were great nostalgic romps though action filmography. seeing those old action heros quoting themselves as they gallivant through some quality action scenes was very entertaining and worth a watch….. so much so that after pirating them, because i wanted to support them i went and saw them again in theaters. i felt they were worth my money, but i had to be certain first…. because the third expendables, while it had a few good lines, especially from mr banderas spent most of the film with a bunch of kids i couldent give two shits about. where was my old bad ass cast? where was my nostalgic action heros? gone until the climax that still spent too much time on characters i did not care about. so i did not want to pay to support it….. because i didnt like it, thanks to piracy i didnt waste my money supporting what i dont want to see more of….. i want more like 2 not 3….. so what he and the company needs to do is step back and instead of wasting time money and resources on a man hunt, they should instead focus on going back to formula and trying to make the next one better instead of another dud like 3. if its good i will pay for it, its that simple. all piracy has done is forced companies to have quality control again.

    • Bob Cottrell says:

      Wow, really? You just admitted to stealing the movie? No, it’s not at all okay to preview a movie and decide if you’re then going to pay for it. And do you really think that everyone who watches it without paying for it then goes to the movie to be sure the film makers, actors, etc. get paid? What planet do you live on? You want to know what it’s about, and how good it is? There are many, many good movie reviewers who do a fantastic job of reviewing movies, good and bad. Start paying attention to them and then decide if you want to go see it. I hope you’re one of the first ones they get.

  30. Phil Ayling says:

    I find it amazing to read that Avi Lerner is asking us to think about all the harm to the “little people” like the electrician and the gaffer.What impact does this piracy have on them? Expendables 3 was shot in Bulgaria, with a mostly Bulgarian universe of “little people”. This is not a situation where those folks are going to lose residuals, healthcare or pension that they might have otherwise received had the film not been pirated.

    The big economic loss is just to Avi, Stallone and other above the line Stars and Producers. Maybe Avi should ask the President of Bulgaria to look into this instead of Obama. If Avi cares so much about the little people he might try making one of his films here… in his own backyard. Plenty of little people here if Avi wants to play the “altruism” card.

  31. Ammar Nemo says:

    I don’t blame the man he should go after all those people! They might not make a fourth movie because of this.. I want to see more Expendable movies! I doubt that he will win in court I hope he does! I’m happy that I seen it on the big screen.

  32. Roger Soto says:

    And finally, the Producer of this film can send me a check for $100,000.00 just for making the suggestion and Make it out to Super Fan.

  33. Lynnacworth says:

    If they would just ask approximately 9,999,942 people who downloaded this stink bomb would probably give it back. I am not for violating anyone’s copyrights but seriously this movie was doomed from the start to lose money. Try a new story line and a cast under the age if ninety and just maybe the box office results will be different

    • Rudy says:

      I believe the leak of the copy of expendables 3 was from inside the studio. Now, Lerner wants to collect his profit losses by randomly going after ip addresses who in fact the person could be innocent and could been downloaded by a friend or family member. Trust me I saw the trailer and did not find it good enough to see. I’m glad I didn’t watch it cause in every expendables movie no one of the main heroes die come on! Everyone out there it just plain greedy Lerner!

      • Rex says:

        There are plenty of “main characters” in these films and if you actually watched them, you’d know that some have actually died.

  34. Roger Soto says:

    That’s one way to make your money back? Just make it baby #stallone

  35. Roger Soto says:

    How about making a part 4 or IV Baby, YEA!

  36. Johnny Ray says:

    Apparently the leak started from the inside, within his organization who put it out there. Since it wasn’t released yet, it gave no one the chance to record the movie in theatres, which are usually crappy copies. I think that motion picture studios need to better monitor the pre-release copies on DVD and be more selective who obtains them. I’m sure none of the “10 million people” didn’t break into the studio and steal a copy. The culprit started seeding it right under his nose. Why is he only pointing the finger at Americans? Doesn’t he realize this happens on a much bigger scale internationally? He’s overlooking how technology can cloak IP addresses via VPNs and will probably never find everyone and sue the wrong people. Honestly, he’s an poorly informed idiot.

  37. Holder says:

    Lerner should note the film’s success in China which is pretty much the piracy capital of the world. After witnessing that, what further proof do you need that torrenters really weren’t the problem with Expendables 3? Honestly, how do we explain to older Hollywood folk who do not care to understand their industry that this sort of theft is truly negligible?

    Stop wasting your time on this, Lerner! Fix it for Expendables 4, and yes, we’re talking about the switch to the PG-13 rating and the continued focus outside of poster talent. No more passing the baton! Stallone and Statham are the baton! Go shove them up someone’s ass!

  38. Gabriel says:

    I understand where the producer is going but I’ve worked on sets before and it’s usually hourly wages for the little people. It’s the big guys that line their pockets with the extra fluff that comes from the actual movie’s successes. People are greedy and I understand that but I’m fine with it (I guess) if they’re honest about it. This producer talks about how others are afraid and yet he’s hiding behind the little people that worked on his movie. “Oh, you didn’t make me/the stars/my bosses enough money.”

    Although three weeks ahead of time is insane but whatever the case is, this producer is himself a coward by hiding behind the “little” people that worked hard on set. From what I understand, a movie is given a budget. The movie spends money on actually making the movie and then when it goes to release, the money they earn pays back the studios for the investment they made in the movie. This would mean that basically everyone (little guys) got paid…which would be weird if they didn’t. “Sorry, you don’t get paid until you finish the movie and it goes out to release and if we make back what we invested THEN you get paid. But you know what? If we don’t make back our investment, there’s a chance you won’t get paid the usual amount for the hours you worked.”

    So, definitely, piracy hurts film companies. (sarcastic quote) “Oh, no. This actor/producer/executive can’t rake in a couple hundred thousand/million. How will he ever feed their kids or pay for their mortgage. (S)He only made 500,000? See you at the poor house then.”

    Is it hurting the little guys? Probably not as bad. “Let’s hire this construction company to make us this new building. When do we pay them? Guess we’ll have to see when this building makes us a profit.”
    “Don’t we pay them, THEN break even from our own investment, then profit?”
    “Nah, not according Avi Lerner.”

    • Clegane says:

      You obviously have zero understanding of how economics works.

      Less box office money due to piracy = less movies being made.
      Less movies being made = less jobs for the “little people”

    • Shoesie says:

      Maybe the movie was shit. and maybe without a leak the movie might still have tanked. That still doesn’t give anyone the right to steal it. If this pattern of rampant piracy continues there will be no incentive to make any more films so in that scenario then the “little guy”, the electricians etc. will be out of a job. Stop justifying your illegal behaviour people! YOu steal something, you pay the consequences whether you think the entity you’re stealing from is a douchebag or not!

  39. Georgie B Good says:

    If I paid to watch this movie in the theatres, I’d have asked for my money back. What a worthless piece of shit film it was. I’m glad I didn’t pay to watch the movie, I’m not glad I wasted so much time watching it. I’d rather watch paint dry than the Expendables 3.

  40. Ben Lowe says:

    Good luck with that one. :p

  41. Island Planet says:

    This is the perfect idea! You can just hold back the tide of the future by punishing the people who consume your product. Movie fans will love you for it! The one and only reason this movie ‘sputtered’ at the box office is because it is complete sh*t. NO, it is the third rate 3quel to a piece of sh*t.

    Movie fans, never forget the name Avi Lerner and Millennium Films. He and his dog sh*t company have declared war on us all. Never lay an eyeball on anything either one of them has their name on again.

    Anoymous? Are you out there? This ass-hat needs a good spanking from we the people.

  42. JohnnyQ says:

    I’m one of those persons who illegally download the movie and I want my two hours back!

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