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Leak doesn't keep fans away from 'Wolverine'

LOS ANGELES -- Not even pirates can stop Wolverine.

Audiences weren't deterred from watching "X-Men Origins:Wolverine" on the big screen despite a full-length version of thesuperhero prequel clawing its way online last month.

The 20th Century Fox movie grabbed the No. 1 spot at the weekendbox office with an estimated $87 million opening, toppling thefirst two "X-Men" films -- but not the third, according to studioestimates Sunday.

While copies of the work print, which Fox said was "withoutmany effects, had missing and unedited scenes and temporary soundand music," continue to appear on several file-sharing Web sites,movie-goers still lined up to see how the feral "X-Men" bad boyplayed by Hugh Jackman was first outfitted with his razor-sharppaws.

"I started watching it online but didn't finish because itdidn't have any of the special effects," Jason Nguyen said outsideof the AMC Burbank 16 before a Friday show. "It seemed likesomething you would just watch on the DVD after seeing the realmovie. I just didn't think watching that would compare to watchingthe finished one with all the special effects."

Another movie-goer, Christina Ruiz, said outside the PacificTheatres Glendale 18, that she didn't think watching a movie on theInternet "really compares to watching it in a movie theater, andjust because you watch something online doesn't mean you're notgoing to go to the movies. It's different."

"I really liked the first 'X-Men' movies and went to see themwith all of my friends," Ruiz said. chief entertainment columnist Roger Friedman and the

Fox News organization "mutually agreed to part ways immediately"after Friedman boasted about watching the movie's leaked version athis desk.

"It took really less than seconds to start playing it all rightonto my computer," Friedman wrote in his Fox 411 column last month. "I could have downloaded all of it butreally, who has the time or the room? Later tonight I may finallycatch up with Paul Rudd in ' I Love You, Man.' It's so much easierthan going out in the rain!"

After the work print was leaked, studio co-chairman Tom Rothmantold Entertainment Weekly the pirated version was "about 10minutes shorter" than the complete theatrical version. But therunning time for the theatrical version -- 107 minutes -- was exactlythe same.

"If they watch (the leaked work print), will they get thestory? Sure, but there are 400 visual-effects shots that aren'tcomplete and Harry Gregson-Williams' score isn't in the movie,"director Gavin Hood said. "So I almost want to say, 'Why did youdo this to yourself? You're such a fan of Wolverine, why do youwant to see something that isn't ready?"'

Other than the completed effects and sound, possibly the biggestdifference between the two versions are secret endings. Hood saidtwo different post-credit " Easter egg" scenes play on separateprints. The leaked work print's final scene stars Wolverine, butanother ending exists that features the film's villain.


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