Fox was understandably upset when one of their big summer tent pole fiilms was released early on the internet. But it didn’t seem to have hurt X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which made $87 million.
As I have said before, I don’t believe piracy really hurts the media business. Suckiness does. If people want to see something, they will pay for quality. But crap is disposable. People can get almost anything for free online, but there are plenty of films people won’t even download for free.
If something looks exciting people want the communcal experience and will pay to see it in a theater.
If anything, piracy introduced people to material they would never have heard or watched before if they didn’t have the chance to sample it first. It’s a form of viral marketing and if Hollywood is smart they might consider leaking more unfinished films in the future if they believe in them. Who knows, it might actually help sales and it’s cheaper than advertising. It’s in fact, free.