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.