Watch: The Latest Avengers Movie Is Already On Torrent Sites, But That Won't Stop A Torrent Of Sold Theater Tickets
from the enjoy-your-money dept
Way back in 2012, the Washington Post published an article entitled ‘Why Hollywood Is Doomed’. The thrust of the post is that the major movie studios were entirely too focused on restrictive copyright laws and draconian enforcement efforts when any simple look at Hollywood revenues would show that great movies make great amounts of money. That is the correlation that Hollywood should be focused on, not imaginary stances that every instance, or even a majority of instances, of piracy represents lost ticket revenue. The author’s example of this was the original The Avengers movie, which is nearly universally accepted as just a fantastic flick, but which was also heavily pirated. Despite the piracy, the box office take worldwide for the movie was $1.5 billion, on a budget of $220 million. It was such a triumph, in fact, that it solidified the MCU series of movies that have made so much money that throwing actual numbers around at this point is pointless.
Fast forward to today, when Avengers: Endgame is set to release in America this week, but where it was initially released in China. The strategy behind releasing to China first was explicitly to minimize the effects of piracy in that country. That strategy doesn’t appear to have worked all that well, as the film is already on torrent sites ahead of the US release, due to several cam-versions of the film being created in China.
In anticipation of this somewhat inevitable event, TorrentFreak sources put systems in place to check for the movie being shared on BitTorrent. Between 4:00pm and 5:00pm local time, those triggers went off, indicating the jewel in Marvel’s crown had already hit the Internet.
Within minutes of the initial seed appearing, dozens of exclusively China-located users began sharing a 1.2GB torrent of the movie. There are also other variants, around the 2GB mark. We are currently unable to confirm the quality of those releases.
Copies of these files quickly moved to English-language torrent sites, ahead of the US release. Subsequent uploads of the films alleviated the major concerns over the first files, which had poor quality due to the nature of camming a film in a theater, subtitles showing up that most folks won’t want, and a wonky angle from which it was filmed. The later files were of a much higher quality.
But here’s the thing: it won’t really matter. The only real question around Avengers: Endgame is just how insane an amount of money will it rake in? Will it finally unseat Avatar for the highest grossing film ever, or will it only be the fourth Avengers movie to settle into the top ten of all time? When these are the questions revolving around a film that is pirated before its release in major markets, it’s hard to see those questions as representing a real problem that requires legislation and strict enforcement, no matter how understandably frustrating this is to the movie makers.
Why piracy is no threat to this movie is also easily understood. First, the Avengers movies are generally just great movies. People want to see them. And they want to see them in the best way possible. Which brings up the second point: these pirated files are generally not a substitute for the theater experience for a movie like this. The bigger screen, the sound, the social aspect of going to see this film with your friends and family; these are not things that can be replicated with a computer and a home theater setup. And that’s the formula: a great movie and a theater experience. That formula is why nearly every movie in the top-ten grossing films of all time was released in the internet era. Piracy doesn’t keep the revenue from pouring in.
None of this excuses piracy, of course. That isn’t the point we’re making. It’s a matter of the focus and level of emphasis the studios, the MPAA, and their well-captured legislators are putting on the “problem.” The Washington Post had it right: focus on making great films and the problem is minimal.