Sony Pictures Entertainment endeavored to post a trailer for its limited-release film Khali the Killer on YouTube to encourage viewers to watch the movie on Blu-ray, on streaming platforms, and in select theaters. Instead, the company uploaded the film in its entirety—apparently by accident.
Khali the Killer is a violent crime drama that, based on the actual trailer, seems to draw a lot of influence from westerns and ’70s exploitation films. It was released on DVD in 2017, but in the odd reverse-order world of some indie films, it’s not slated for a theatrical release until later this year. In any case, this is not an example of the film being unavailable until it suddenly appeared on YouTube.
Clocking in at a feature-length one hour and 30 minutes, the video has since been removed, but it stayed up for several hours. That was long enough to earn a heavily upvoted Reddit thread making fun of the error.
“Another trailer that spoils the whole film,” lamented Redditor GeraltForOverwatch in a comment with more than 15,000 upvotes. Other Reddit users shared the theory that it’s actually a viral marketing effort for a film that isn’t likely to attract much buzz otherwise. That’s possible but unlikely given that Sony is still recovering from some embarrassing or damaging problems on the digital front—like the 2014 Sony Pictures hack that exposed thousands of employee social security numbers, emails, and more. Stunts like this would usually require sign-off from executive stakeholders at companies like this, and they probably wouldn’t want to support any narrative about the company struggling digitally.
The processes used by organizations like Sony to publish videos to platforms both owned and otherwise could present opportunities for error. (I know this because I used to work for a major broadcast TV network.) It could have been as simple as a young, entry-level digital producer accidentally copying and pasting the wrong video ID number from the company’s internal repository of video files into a proprietary publishing tool that bulk-publishes several videos in a daily push via the YouTube Data API and the equivalents on other platforms.
But that’s just informed speculation without further word from Sony, and Sony has not yet publicly commented about the incident.