Copies of one the highest-grossing movies ever won’t hit stores for another couple of weeks, but hundreds of thousands of people are reportedly already watching at home.
Blu-ray-quality versions of Walt Disney’s (DIS) Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit online piracy sites earlier this week, and roughly 250,000 people illegally downloaded copies of the blockbuster film hours after it appeared online, according to the website TorrentFreak. The high-quality versions are reportedly available across a variety of torrent and streaming sites, such as The Pirate Bay and KickassTorrents.
The online piracy news site suggests the number of illegal downloads is “likely to increase to [the] several millions” over the next few weeks. Before this week, the only copies of the film available online for pirating were those recorded by handheld cameras in theaters.
Disney is set to release The Force Awakens on DVD on April 1, with Blu-ray copies of the movie hitting stores on April 5.
The early pirated release could end up weighing down Disney’s home entertainment sales after the company saw its first feature installment of the Star Wars franchise go on to set a domestic box office record. The movie pulled in $932 million in domestic ticket sales after its December release while grossing nearly $2.1 billion worldwide.