In a massive blow to Disney's on-going anti-piracy efforts, the much anticipated Blu-ray release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been ripped and uploaded online, nearly two weeks before the retail release date of the disc set.
More than 250,000 people have already downloaded the ripped version (available in a 1.43 GB BRRip, as well as a full 11 GB 1080p version) in the first 12 hours alone, and this number is expected to reach multi-millions in the weeks to come.
With scene release groups now required to supply a photo of the original physical source, the released photos shows the release group, REPLiCA, managed to obtain a retail version of the disc set (physical copies will already be in warehouses, awaiting the end of the release embargo period).
This is the second major piracy blow for the hit Star Wars movie, with camcorded versions of the film being uploaded online only a week after it officially hit theaters in mid December. But unlike that version, there are no issues with the quality of this latest Blu-ray, which, according to comments made in relation to the upload, features 10 out of 10 audio and video quality.
With that said, it is unlikely that this leak will have a huge impact on Blu-ray sales (which is still expected to break all records), with many fans likely to both (illegally) download and to buy when the Blu-ray hits shelves on April 5th, for a movie that most fans regard as the best Star Wars film since the original trilogy.