MPAA Still Clueless; Claims Anti-Piracy Is Why Dark Knight Had A Huge Opening

from the are-these-people-serious? dept

Last week, we wrote about how the massively successful opening of The Dark Knight showed (once again) how little an impact “piracy” has on movies. But don’t tell the movie industry that. The LA Times is running a bizarre article with movie industry folks claiming that their anti-piracy efforts are the real reason the movie was so successful in the theaters. Never mind the awesome reviews. Never mind the fact that many people wanted to see the movie in IMAX (which you can’t replicate at home). Never mind the fact that going out to the movies is still a social experience. Never mind the fact that the movie was available online soon after it was released (despite what the article claims).

Instead, the movie guys rely on a single anecdote: the story about how the Hulk movie from a few summers ago leaked online, got terrible reviews and then no one went to see it. The industry uses that to claim that a leaked movie does tons of damage to box office sales, but they play down the importance of the bad reviews. If you make a bad movie, then yes, word of mouth will stop people from going. But if you make a good movie — and most critics agree The Dark Knight is an excellent movie — then word of mouth will make more people want to go out and experience it in the theater. About the only thing the LA Times article shows is just how much money the MPAA wasted in its efforts to keep the movie from appearing online prior to release. For that, it maybe saved them a few hours (much less than claimed in the article), which probably had almost no impact on ticket sales. Until the movie industry realizes that it’s the experience they’re selling, beyond just the content, it sounds like they’re going to be throwing a lot more money down this anti-piracy hole than they’re actually “losing” to piracy.

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Comments on “MPAA Still Clueless; Claims Anti-Piracy Is Why Dark Knight Had A Huge Opening”

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chris (profile) says:

tortured reasoning

the Hulk movie from a few summers ago leaked online, got terrible reviews and then no one went to see it.

leaked bad movies probably do hurt ticket sales:
i saw a cam of the new hulk movie and it BLOWS! don’t even bother downloading it.

i’ll bet leaked good movies probably help sales:
OMFG i saw a cam of the dark knight and it FREAKIN ROCKS!!! go see that shit in the theater!

this is what i love about the movie industry: they want you to pay full price to find out if it sucks. that way, they get their money, even if they didn’t do their job of making movies that are worth watching.

i love how they get the option of making us pay to see the goods, but we don’t get the option of making them show us the goods before we pay.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: tortured reasoning

I completely agree that the MPAA are using piss poor examples and agree that what they’re attempting to pull is complete and total bullshit. I also think part of it is that they are charging too much to see a movie.

With that said, people seem to be treading on a thin line of how the world works. The point of a review is to shed light on what someone may or may not like about a movie. YOUR opinion of a movie doesn’t mean you should or shouldn’t pay for it. If it sounds like you won’t enjoy it, don’t see it.

I guess at least your post is an effort to pay for it. For some reason the current generation seems to think there’s never a reason to pay for something that everything is free that isn’t physical.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: tortured reasoning

“I guess at least your post is an effort to pay for it. For some reason the current generation seems to think there’s never a reason to pay for something that everything is free that isn’t physical.”

Why do you trolls continue to ignore facts. If this generation is not willing to pay for it, then why did it smash all box office records?

You really are an idiot.

chris (profile) says:

Re: Re: tortured reasoning

I guess at least your post is an effort to pay for it. For some reason the current generation seems to think there’s never a reason to pay for something that everything is free that isn’t physical.

ahh, the “shut up and get in line” argument. that line of thinking is exactly the problem.

if pirating a good movie helps sales, and pirating a bad one hurts sales, that means that piracy is a non-issue as long as you make more good movies than bad ones.

rather than waste money chasing pirates, why not spend those funds on making better pictures?

there is more to this conversation than “everyone must pay” and “everything must be free” and that is embracing the fact that some people will always pay, some people will never pay, and the best you can hope for is that most of the audience pays most of the time.

your energy would be better spent on the paying crowd. they are already paying and there are more of them than there are pirates. make the experience great for those who do pay and offer them something that’s worth paying for so they will come back to pay for it again.

the issue isn’t my willingness to pay. i do pay… a lot. the issue is the balance of price vs. quality and the fact that the movie industry holds all the cards. it’s an all or nothing proposition right now: either i have to gamble my money and hope for a good picture (not as risky this summer as it was last) or pirate movies to see them for myself and decide. there are more good movies out this year so i have gone to the movies more often.

surely there is a compromise between the “pay up sucker” attitude of the studios and the “give me everything free” mentality of some consumers.

if there was a legal compromise i would be all for that, but there isn’t and if the industry has their way, there won’t be.

if a trip for two to the movies wasn’t $50, i could be more forgiving of less than stellar releases. so far this summer has been a good one for movies, since the spring i have seen 21, prince caspian, ironman, wall-E, the dark knight, the x files all in the theater. last thursday i even paid $10 to see the 25th anniversary screening of “war games”. i’ve seen it a hundred times and i STILL paid to see it in the theater. i go to the movies more than anyone i know and i probably download more than anyone i know. the fact remains that if it were more affordable, and the movies were better, i would go see a lot more in the theater because i love movies that much.

since the trip for two is $50, i am going to be quite selective in my review process and really only devote funds to pictures that present the least risk to me and my family in terms of enjoyment.

no, reviews by other people won’t cut it. most reviewers are out of touch with me and my tastes. sure i read reviews when i run across them, but half the time they are paid off and the other half of the time they are needlessly academic.

Scorpiaux says:

When will they ever learn?

If those numbskulls who produced The Dark Knight had only paid attention to the drum beat postings on this web site, they could have made infinitely more money by simply giving away the movie on line before releasing it in the theaters where they should also have provided free admission. I think that’s Techdirt’s business model, right? “Give everything away and you’ll make zillion$.”

Emerson says:

Re: When will they ever learn?

The lack of reading and comprehension skills amongst TechDirt detractors is always amazing. “Just take this statement here, twist it like so, then bend it this way, and add these words and remove those, and there you have it! The TechDirt Mantra!”

These bits are probably wasted on you: TechDirt has never said “Give everything away and you’ll make zillion$” or even anything close.

Scorpiaux (user link) says:

Re: Re: When will they ever learn?

It seems to me that the there is a continual disparaging of those who are copyright holders and who want to and actually spend money on protecting what is rightfully theirs. The oft-stated rule is that since there will always be thieves, it is pointless to spend any time, money, or effort defending against them. Just let them have what they are going to take anyway without paying for it and do nothing, especially if what is copyrighted is stored in digital format. There is somehow the twisted logic here that if one commits a crime and uses high-tech tools to pull it off, it is to be lauded, not prosecuted. In this twisted scenario, the criminal is elevated to a high moral status for his or her high-tech prowess whereas the victim defending what rightfully belongs to the victim is panned as being unjust.

Wolferz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: When will they ever learn?

You’ve misunderstood the concept.

It’s not that “since there will always be thieves, it is pointless to spend any time, money, or effort defending against them.”

The rule is that since there are so many of them… to the point that they actually outnumber the people who aren’t thieves, and since they aren’t really thieves since they are not stealing but rather (illegally) copying, and since there is no chance that the content providers will ever put the genie back in the bottle… it makes good business sense to embrace new business models that are not harmed by a trend that the content providers can’t do anything about no matter how much time money and effort they spend defending against it.

It has nothing to do with the existence of thieves or the fact that the material is digital. All that matters is that this is how things are going to be, the end. Yes they should give up because they have already lost. Right or wrong, they have lost. All they can hope to achieve now is to alienate customers and lose boat loads of money fighting a losing battle.

And no, criminals should not always be lauded. In fact I’m pretty sure no one has said they should. Even if they have it’s irrelevant.

digital content = irrelevant
copyright holders = irrelevant
existence of thieves = irrelevant
time, money, and effort = irrelevant
tech prowess = irrelevant

All that mumbo jumbo is irrelevant to the issue you are referencing. It’s a simple question of whether or not, in a world where file sharing WILL happen and will happen A LOT does it make any sense for the content providers to continue fighting it rather than finding ways to embrace it.

It’s a simple matter of logistics and sustainable business models. You know business 101 stuff.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: When will they ever learn?

It seems to me that the there is a continual disparaging of those who are copyright holders and who want to and actually spend money on protecting what is rightfully theirs.

Then you should go back and reread what we are writing, because it appears you have misunderstood (willfully?).

The oft-stated rule is that since there will always be thieves, it is pointless to spend any time, money, or effort defending against them. Just let them have what they are going to take anyway without paying for it and do nothing, especially if what is copyrighted is stored in digital format.

No, that’s not what we said at all. What we said was that if you can use that unauthorized sharing to your advantage, doesn’t that make sense? Especially if all the efforts to block file sharing end up having a negative impact on actual sales?

There is somehow the twisted logic here that if one commits a crime and uses high-tech tools to pull it off, it is to be lauded, not prosecuted. In this twisted scenario, the criminal is elevated to a high moral status for his or her high-tech prowess whereas the victim defending what rightfully belongs to the victim is panned as being unjust.

Again, you seem to have misread what we are writing. Since I’ve had this discussion with you in the past, I can only assume that you are now being willfully ignorant, despite it having been explained to you in the past.

The point is looking at this FROM the movie industry’s perspective, and looking at ways that they can *maximize* revenue — despite what you seem to think. If more people are going to the movie even though they have seen a pirated copy, then doesn’t it make sense that spending so much on preventing piracy is a bad business plan?

Monarch says:

Re: Re: Re: When will they ever learn?

Scorpiaux, you must have a room temperature IQ during the month of December.

I’ve watch all the new releases this month on pirated cam versions of the films, I’ve downloaded off the internet. A friend was asking me one day last week as I was watching ‘The Dark Knight’ on my laptop, why I don’t just go see the movie. Said I’d love to, but can’t stand going to a theater, except Drive-ins, which there are a couple in my area, but a Cam version is about the same quality as a Drive-in. Also mentioned that if the DVD’s of these movies were out right now, I’d run and buy them on DVD, even pay premium prices for DVD’s if they were out.

So scorpiturd, as the studios don’t want to sell me a version of their IP in a format I’m willing to pay to see it, I’ll go for the alternative, free pirated version.

Lucretious (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: When will they ever learn?

The oft-stated rule is that since there will always be thieves, it is pointless to spend any time, money, or effort defending against them. Just let them have what they are going to take anyway without paying for it and do nothing, especially if what is copyrighted is stored in digital format.

It does seem frutiless doesn’t it? Kinda like the War On Drugs where we keep doing the same thing over and over and over again yet it doesn’t do shit. The same mentality used by Law enforcement is “we can’t just sit and do nothing”. of course thats exactly whats getting accomplished….nothing. Same with the entertainment industry. instead of having the courage to completely change their way of dealing with things they will continue beating their fat heads against the wall because the know nothing else but the one way of distributing media and, lets face it, hosing artists like they’ve been doing for decades.

So, fine, your the champion in the hall of moral behavior. Just shut the lights off when you leave.

chris (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: When will they ever learn?

since there will always be thieves, it is pointless to spend any time, money, or effort defending against them.

the point that you are missing is that the “thieves” are UNSTOPPABLE. as in, stopping them is not humanly possible. the largest and cleverest of efforts have managed to temporarily slow things down, but stopping them outright is simply not going to happen.

so, you can invest time, money and effort to stop something that is impossible to stop, which is ridiculous, OR you can focus your investment on those who do pay and on rewarding their patronage with things that encourage more patronage. lower prices seem like a good place to start, convenience too.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: When will they ever learn?

Get it through your thick skull. Creative works are not like your house or your ipod. They are extremely derivative and are dependent on being able to exploit a vast pool of previous work. The existence of future works is dependent on that vast pool of intellectual capital remaining in place and growing.

Copyright is not a natural right. It’s a form of encouragement. It’s the manifestation of a public policy objective. It’s meant to encourage more creativity.

Ultimately, it is MEANT to be copied and freely shared.

Merely copying that which ultimately is meant to be copied and shared should never be considered a “crime”.

Crime should be about matters of actual damage rather than indulging someone’s savenger instincts.

Wolferz (profile) says:

Re: When will they ever learn?

No… giving the movie away online by itself would not have improved ticket sales. This was not said in the article. This was not said by Mike. This was only said by you. It’s a straw man argument you’ve built in a very misguided attempt to disprove what Mike actually said without you even understanding it. Congrats, you’re a moron.

What Mike claims is that spending untold millions of dollars on anti-piracy efforts to keep the movie from coming out online is a waste of money for several reasons.

First of all it will fail. The movie was available two days after hitting the theaters.

Secondly, this did not effect ticket sales in any appreciable way. The local theater complex [that had Dark Knight] here still had all 7 of the theaters at it’s main building packed a week after it came out.

Finally, and most importantly, lagging ticket sales are more because of poor box office experiences. We have two major theater complexes here, and two smaller theaters (one is a drive-in). Of those only one provides a consistent experience. The last 6 movies I’ve seen at the others have had issues from soda-soaked cushions, out of stock drinks and candies, failure to enforce noise control, damaged or low quality film, out of sync audio, failed equipment, wet and messy floors, etc. And of course with this increasingly poor experience has come higher ticket prices and higher prices for foods. A medium soda for 4 dollars when I can get the same thing across the street for 75 cents… and not have to worry about it being flat… AFTER paying 12 dollar for a ticket… only to have the audio play out of sync the entire movie while sitting in a chair covered by dried blobs of chewing gum and my shoes sticking to the sticky floor? And good theater has lower prices, is larger, offers stadium seating, and doesn’t have these problems. If the movie companies want to do something about lagging ticket sales they should start enforcing quality controls on theaters.

If the theaters offered something other than a piss poor experience at inflated prices then yes, giving the movie away for free online would potentially increase ticket sales. While there are people who would not see the movie in the theater once they had seen it on their computer, many people who were not going to the theater whether they had seen the movie or not might change their mind. Theaters need to sell the service they provide, not the content that can be gotten for free. Currently they don’t provide a service worth having and, if the movie was easier to get hold of for free then yes they would lose money because they lost their only selling point.

Think about fancy sit down restaurants. I can cook anything they can cook at home and even change it to my preferences. But I have to do the work and in the end I can’t recreate the atmosphere available at a restaurant. That is what you pay extra for when you go to a restaurant. Not the food.

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re: When will they ever learn?

Ahem, “lagging ticket sales”? Have you seen last year’s numbers? Nearly evenly matched with 2004 as the highest box office year ever. Have you been watching this year’s numbers? This year is set to shatter the record. This has been a HUGE box office year. The weekend that Dark Knight opened was the biggest single weekend in box office history.

Sorry, I don’t feel any sympathy for them.

Chronno S. Trigger says:


First, The Dark Knight was available the day before the release if you knew where to look. I wasn’t going to download it but it literally got dropped in my lap so now I have it, and because of that, I will buy it when it comes out on blu-ray (I’m anti-theater at the moment)

Second, I know of at least one case where piracy gained them 4 tickets. A coworker of mine would not have gone to see it unless he knew it was good.

Third, The Hulk was not a good movie. Yes, piracy killed that one but that’s because it sucked.

“”Hulk” still had an impressive opening, grossing $62 million in its first weekend. But by the second week, mediocre reviews and corrosive word of mouth pushed grosses down 70%. “

I think that just says it all.

This is what they think of us. The movie sucks than it must be piercy, if it’s good than it’s due to anti-piracy. Ether way, it’s not their movies, it’s us.

hollywood-exec-type says:

my personal home IMAX setup

yeah i’m that guy. i have an IMAX setup in my warehouse/classic car garage. i grabbed a CAM of the movie from TPB and had a bunch of my friends over for a private screening. we were doing lots of illegal drugs which is why we couldn’t enjoy it in a theater.

While this scenario might be completely normal to Hollywood execs, the average person who contributed to the slammin’ box office sales of the movie clearly don’t agree.

i would say the fact that hollywood still doesn’t grasp the concept of the social aspect shows how removed they are from a majority of americans. i mean, LA is prolly so kooky, if you live there you see stuff that could NEVER be in movie! the movie was so good that everyone i met was like “oh, have you seen it yet?? really, you haven’t!?! wow, talk to again after you’ve seen it.”

ouch. with that kind of social pressure and all the people wanting me to go see it with them, it was nearly impossible for me to NOT see the movie, if i could afford it (i scraped the cookie jar for change).

chris makes a good point though; aren’t there positive aspects to this type of early release that aren’t accounted for in the “lost-sales model” of hollywood’s projections? how many MORE people go to see the movies in theaters after they know the movie doesn’t suck tire nuts?

this relates to the studies that show people who pirate media, sometimes spend MORE on the particular media they’re interested in. when you are swimming in music, it becomes second nature and therefore an integral part of your life…and BUDGET!

Anonymous Coward says:

My two bytes...

If a free high quality version was available for download, I wouldn’t have gone to the theater (I have a HDTV and bose audio system).

I don’t think there is any utility is containing handcammed copies. It would make a lot of sense to prevent insiders who release copies (I heard oscar candidacy copies get leaked a lot). I guess not-so-famous-but-good films suffer a lot because of piracy (definitely Dark Knight does not belong to that category!).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: My two bytes...

Well, I haven’t seen this yet but that’s only an issue of scheduling. Even if I could get my copy on a BD quality copy to play on my 60″ TV I don’t think that would keep me away from the theatre (more than just being busy). I saw this with Matrix back in the day. A good movie on a home screen MAKES YOU WANT TO SEE THE REAL THING.

Assuming your local cinema isn’t crap, you aren’t just paying for the content but the theatre too. A good cinema can’t be easily replicated at home.

If your local cinema is crap then Hollywood is doomed either way…

Buzz says:


I’ve seen a pirated version of The Dark Knight (after PAYING to see it in theaters TWICE). Honestly, why would anyone sacrifice the high quality theater version for the camcorded version? Pirated versions have terrible picture quality, lousy audio, etc. I am glad I went to the theater (again, I went TWICE because it was so good). Watching a camcorder version first would have tarnished the experience (ruin all the surprises, etc.).

The Dark Knight really is that good. If piracy is such a “threat” as the MPAA claims, then maybe there is no value whatsoever in high-def picture, surround sound, huge picture (particularly IMAX), synchronized sound (pirated versions often misalign the audio a bit), etc.

Techdirt is right. I don’t go to just see the movie; I go to see it in a theater with friends (I never go to movies alone… EVER). If I was really as cheap as the MPAA suggests, I would just wait until the movie is out for rental, let my FRIEND rent it, and watch it for free.

If you’re reading this, MPAA, pay attention: I HAVE ACCESS TO PIRATED COPIES OF THE DARK KNIGHT, BUT I WENT TO THE MOVIE THEATER TWICE BECAUSE OF HOW GOOD IT WAS. Stop using piracy as a cover up for your otherwise crappy movies.

Steve R. (profile) says:

LA Times Article

In reading the LA Times article, I am once again reminded that DRM is akin to the Parable of the broken window.

Simply put, implementing DRM costs money and this money could be put to other productive uses. The LA Times writes “Warner created a “chain of custody” to track who had access to the film at any moment. It varied the shipping and delivery methods, staggering the delivery of film reels, so the entire movie wouldn’t arrive at multiplexes in one shipment, in order to reduce risk of an entire copy being lost or stolen. It conducted spot checks of hundreds of theaters domestically and abroad, to ensure that illegal camcording wasn’t taking place. It even handed out night-vision goggles to exhibitors in Australia, where the film opened two days before its U.S. launch, to scan the audience for the telltale infrared signal of a camcorder.

So how much did this so-called security cost? From the accounting perspective, did the cost of security actually save money for Warner Brothers? Probably not. As others have noted, piracy might actually promote more DVD sales and associated merchandising.

Matt says:

maybe because the ticket prices are high

Maybe Batman made so much money because tickets cost so much money? Up here in the NYC area (NJ, NY, CT, etc.) we pay as much as $10.75 per ticket. I have seen the 2007 average movie ticket price claimed to be $7.08, but I haven’t paid that since about 1993. When the now-defunct Galaxy 6 Cinema in Monterey, CA, was brand new in 1991, tickets were a whopping $6!
Either way, it seems pretty obvious that the “industry folks” are meatheads. How many people can duplicate the theater experience at home? A 50″ 1080p television and Dolby 7.1 is awesome (my friend has that setup), but it is not the same as going to the theater. That will never get old.

sirjoebob says:

lets compare apples to apples

Good lord, this is another aim to gain public opinon by an industry just watching out for their own sorry rear ends.

I have had a pirated copy of dark knight since about 22 hours after it was released. i have seen it twice in theaters and I fully intend to buy it on DVD. movies that are worth watching will make money.


Amazing Steve says:

Re: Pacific Mall

Yeah, have a look at the street vendors at Spadina and Dundas as well. I scored a decent quality copy of The Dark Knight on the day it came out for $3.00. Nobody, least of all cops, gives a shit. When Hollywood execs and actors are starting to become homeless, then there might be a problem. In the mean time, they need to stop worrying about how much “potential” revenue was lost and start turning out more decent content.

Scott says:

The real reason??

You’ve hit on a very interesting element in the debate. There will always be bad movies, and they don’t know they are lemons until late in the investment cycle. So they either charge much more for good movies or get some money for bad ones… hoping the customer’s still satisfied.

And just as the industry controls critics, reviews and previews in an effort to control the “buzz”, they certainly don’t want the public reaction to a bad movie to get ahead of ticket sales.

Certainly for bad movies, one can declare this a very poor policy. It’s the mediocre movies that create the gray area where too much is subjective (e.g. is it really a bad movie, etc).

Fnord says:

Saw it both ways.

I downloaded it last weekend, but waited to watch it until I had seen it in the theatre. I watched it again this weekend at home. I still have it on my HD, and I’m going to to see it in the theatre with my wife on Wednesday. (She hasn’t seen it yet, and she’s waiting until we can see it on the big screen w/ popcorn and Raisinets!

PaulT (profile) says:

OK, a few of these points have already been made but there’s a ridiculous number of errors which need to be pointed out again:

“the story about how the Hulk movie from a few summers ago leaked online, got terrible reviews and then no one went to see it.

Yes, Hollywood, there’s a moral here. Make crappy movies, or at least movies that don’t meet expectations (I didn’t think the Ang Lee movie was that bad), and people won’t see it. Make a good movie (i.e. The Dark Knight with real depth and an impressive 94% Rotten Tomatoes rating right now), and you get a hit. Check the RT forums – there are many people saying something along the lines of “I don’t normally see movies more than once at theaters, but I saqw TDK 3 times already” – you don’t get that with a crappy movie! Not only that, but word of mouth is important – people will trust friends who saw the movie and rave about it, over and above any internet or TV critics.

Here’s 2 other points for industry fanboys to mull over:

1. TDK has only just been released in the UK, and won’t be released in some parts of Europe for another 2-3 weeks. With the hype this is getting, do you honestly think people here will wait to see it? Of course they won’t – they’ll probably still see it at the cinema, but those extra downloads are from people who don’t want to wait until the studios decide to allow them to do so.

2. When the downloads happen, are they from people who haven’t paid already? Or are they from people who have seen the movie several times already, and just want to see it again instead of waiting 6 months for the DVD?

Even with the massive success, I’ve read people complaining about the theatrical experience, about how they loved the movie but wished they could get rid of the dick in the row behind who talked throughout the movie. Make the experience better – no dumbasses and good movies – and the theaters will make money.

John (profile) says:

Of course!

I knew there was a reason why The Dark Knight took in so much money!
Was it the incredible performance by Heath Ledger?
Was it the complex characters or the storyline?
Was it because most people seem to enjoy the movie?

Nah- the movie made tons of movie because of anti-pirating efforts. So, I guess “Hancock” sucked at the box office because the MPAA did not do its part to prevent pirating of the movie?
Does this mean that every movie that tanks can be blamed on the MPAA not doing it’s part, rather than on things like poor characters, bad writing, and a lame story?

So far, “Space Chimps” looks like it will be a poor performer. Quick, MPAA, deploy your anti-pirate squads to boost the box office of this sure-to-be money-maker!

I’m very surprised the MPAA hasn’t come out with a statement saying “Sure, The Dark Knight made five gazillion dollars in one day… but we could have made ten gazillion if it weren’t for those meddling pirates! They foiled everything!”

Some Guy says:

My formula

I rarely go to see a movie on an opening weekend – too many rude bastards in the theaters to ruin the experience. My wife and I usually go to a later show (>9PM) at a local theater with stadium seating – it’s usually less crowded and more likely to provide a better experience.

Most of the time, I will attempt to download the movie on or before opening weekend and make my decisions then. If it’s totally awesome, I will see it in the theater, then buy it (I usually wait for a “collector’s” edition or box set). Sometimes I will wait and rent it, then decide if I still want to buy it. Sometimes I even wait for it to hit cable channels… and DVR it till I decide if I want to buy it for the collection.

I have a fairly large (legal) media collection (>500 movies), and I’ve seen far more movies in theaters in my lifetime. Hell, I saw the original Star Wars at least eight times during the summer of ’77, twice on the opening weekend! Prices were lower and the experience was more fun back then. (and the popcorn tasted better too)

If I *hear* the movie sucks or find out that it has low demand on BT, I likely won’t even bother downloading it, let alone see it in a theater.

BillDem says:

Release to video at the same time

Just give the people what they want!

Personally, I think they should release the DVD and Blue Ray at the same time a movie hits theaters. There are tons of people who, for a wide variety of reasons, simply hate going to theaters but still want to see the movie when it is released. Those people have zero options other than downloading it. Provide those people the option of buying it on the same day and they very likely will. I know I would go buy it immediately and I’m not even a down-loader.

The reality is, the increasingly crappy theater experience no longer appeals to a lot of us, so we spent a lot of money on our own equipment to create a decent experience at home. Unfortunately, the studios continue to artificially support the theaters by arbitrarily waiting several months to release their movies to video. If they really want a massive influx of cash at film release, the studios should release their movies in all venues/formats simultaneously. This would save them the cash of publicizing the movie twice, too.(theatrical release, then video release) Many who see the movie in a theater would stop at Best Buy on the way home to buy it so they could watch it again. Plus, it would have the side effect of weeding out the crappy theaters, leaving only those who provide an experience worth the money.

Anonymous Coward says:

“…it sounds like they’re going to be throwing a lot more money down this anti-piracy hole than they’re actually “losing” to piracy.”

My thoughts exactly. Someone is making a shitload of money with anti-piracy measures, and they are making an extremely good job in convincing studios that piracy is the root of all their problems.
Studios are managed by clueless people, but the ones to blame are the crooks diverting their money in this useless counter-piracy struggle. These are the people (DRM companies, security consultants) who have the most to lose in the case the entertainment industry would come to its right mind and find a sustainable business model that would not rely on giving the parasites tons of cash.

Rich Fiscus (user link) says:

It was already a hit before it came out

I’m not sure which concerns me more, that a reporter would buy this line of reasoning or that studio executives might actually believe it. In the 2 weeks leading up to the movie’s release it was a well known fact that theaters across the US were adding 3AM showings because the midnight showings had sold out already.

If the best argument anyone can muster is that piracy forces studios to make movies people want to see in order to make money I have a hard time finding any sympathy for them. Claiming file copyright infringement via P2P network costs the entertainment industry billions of dollars is an easy sell to the general public because it sounds true. That’s doesn’t mean it is. But “sounds true” doesn’t prove anything. I’ll believe it when I see some actual proof.

There are many factors that affect movie revenue. Piracy is certainly one of them, but as The Dark Knight’s box office performance has proven there are others that are more significant.

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