So the big news on a rather slow Monday is word that a screener of Super 8 was sent to Howard Stern for review and has somehow ended up online, with folks now passing it around like a joint that accidentally slipped out of your rich uncle's wallet. They know it belongs to Stern because the screener is watermarked "H. Stern" in the upper right-hand corner, a practice that has become all-too-common in an age of rabid online piracy. Stern himself took a brief moment during today's show to address the issue, claiming a disgruntled Howard Stern fan who also happens to be an intern for Paramount Pictures must have leaked it. He had nothing more to add, apparently, according to a thread on the Stern Fan Network.
Thing is ... I don't believe him. I don't believe him because I have watched screeners passed around by Stern's own interns and employees. Granted, we're going back over 10 years to when I was in college, but if it was going on all the way back when, it may still be going on now. Back in those days, screeners weren't picked up and signed for by Stern himself (no idea if he even signs for them today) -- it all went through a series of interns and low-on-the-totem-pole employees (some of which were college students). I remember dorming with two Stern interns who were known as the guys who had copies of all the movies still in theaters. At the time I was just a 19-year-old kid who got a kick out of watching films like Titanic and Good Will Hunting in my dorm room way before they were out on DVD, but times have changed since then.
This was before the internet was large enough for people to leak movies online, and so it was real easy to pass around studio screeners so long as the person doing the passing was careful. Stern's people were relatively careful about it, but these days all you need is one idiotic intern who doesn't know his ass from his elbow, and wham! -- a copy of Super 8 winds up online. Stern probably had no idea what had taken place; after he watched the screener for himself (if he did at all), he probably tossed it to his employees and interns, who may have passed it to the wrong morons (or leaked it themselves).
Or, ya know, some mysterious Paramount intern who has it out for Stern leaked it online. Yeah ... right.
Of course this is all speculation, and I have no proof whatsoever that Howard Stern or any of his employees had anything to do with leaking that Super 8 screener to the web. My experiences with Stern's screeners dates all the way back to 1997. Surely he's developed a more secure system for this kind of stuff by now ... right?