Hollywood received a lump of coal in its Christmas stocking this year in the form of an unprecedented online leak of some of the hottest and most anticipated movies of the year. The leak includes potential blockbusters such as "The Hateful Eight," "Joy," And "The Revenant", and could ultimately extend to as many as 40 different films.

The first movie to leak was Quentin Tarantino's star studded western "The Hateful Eight" along with a note from the apparent culprits, the CM8 "scene group," that promised many more would follow. "Will do them all one after each other," warned the footnote, "started with the hottest title of the year, the rest will follow."

Indeed, other big Hollywood releases including "Creed," "Legend," "In the Heart of the Sea," "Joy," "Steve Jobs," "Concussion," "Spotlight," "The Danish Girl," and "Bridge of Spies" have already been leaked online, with "The Hateful Eight" and Alejandro González Iñárritu's "The Revenant" which stars Leonardo DiCaprio, both becoming available online prior to even opening in theatres as scheduled on Christmas Day.

All leaks other than "The Revenant" were released under the name "Hive-CM8", leading back to the group that initially warned of the deluge. An FBI investigation led the agency to determine that the source of the leak of "The Revenant" was a DVD screener sent to Andrew Kosove, co-CEO of Alcon Entertainment.

DVD screeners of current and imminent film releases are routinely sent to Hollywood executives and tastemakers in order to entice them to view the films for consideration when voting for Academy Awards, Golden Globes and other honors. The screeners are inscribed with invisible watermarks that reveal the name of their recipient. Kosove claims he never even saw the DVD screener in question and that it was signed for by an assistant in his office.

Because "The Revenant" is the only film not leaked under the auspices of the CM8 scene group, it may be a separate case for the main leak, which could extend to as many as 40 films, the source of which currently remains unclear.

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