Impact of Piracy on the Movie Business

Discussion in 'Movies' started by mattCR, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    I'm interested in Terry and other's thoughts. Today, not a joke, Fox suffered one of the most stunning acts of Piracy I can remember. While it's not uncommon for piracy to pluck films from theaters, something even Seinfield joked about, today Fox got hit with a stunner, as a studio copy of an unreleased major film hit the internet.

    This has led Fox to involve the FBI in what may become one of the largest hunts for a leak in years.


    Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily UPDATED PIRACY SCANDAL: FBI Joins Fox In Hunt For “Stolen, Incomplete & Early Version’ ‘Wolverine’ Print On Web

    The leak is considered seriously damning because it represents a work-in-progress, it is not the finished film with finished effects, but it is a full studio copy being circulated.

    Years ago, before the internet, these kind of things were simply not an issue; Piracy had a place in the market that was relatively small. But, with such an agressive stance on releases, have Studios run head-on into a force that is going to prove very difficult to stop, and, at what impact to the bottom line ?
     
  2. Pete-D

    Pete-D Screenwriter

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    Probably a good wake up call for studios.

    They are way too lax with how they distribute prints and way too soft on piracy.

    If someone does this they should be able to trace which print it was and from there they'd be able to figure out who leaked this online for one.
     
  3. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    The way they've been crowing about setting new box office records every week/month this year, I don't think they're hurting too much.
     
  4. Pete-D

    Pete-D Screenwriter

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    Yeah it will be interesting to see if this has any type of impact on Wolverine hitting its expected box office opening.
     
  5. Shad R

    Shad R Supporting Actor

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    People who leak and download movies illegally are willing to watch them on crappy moniters with even crappier speakers. Something tells me that if they didn't download it, they wouldn't pay to see it anyways.
    How do people get a hold of these copies?
     
  6. Radioman970

    Radioman970 Lead Actor

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    My thoughts are why bother with that kind of thing anyway? I mean, no effects? [​IMG]
     
  7. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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    it's just the pride/arrogance of people getting to say i've seen it (and for free) already and spoiling the fun for everyone else.

    plus, this already confirms much of what we know, big piracy happens with industry insider somewhere along post production chains, NOT casual copiers. yesh i'm aware of the camcorder copies... but i think that's a federal offense now anyways.
     
  8. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    The kind of fans who would want to see a rough cut are the same fans who will be first in line at the theaters. Effect on opening weekend: none.

    Whichever of their employees stole it should be fired, of course.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I find it funny that someone has ruined their career and is probably going to get into a load of legal trouble over Wolverine.
     
  10. Diallo B

    Diallo B Screenwriter

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    seriously???

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Hanson

    Hanson Producer

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    I take it you've never heard of an HTPC?
     
  12. Nicholas Martin

    Nicholas Martin Cinematographer

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    I think he means how do people get the actual copies of these movies off studio grounds, not how can he download it.

    This happens a lot with unreleased film scores and I've wondered how that happens - someone getting access to the master recordings and then having the equipment and know-how to turn them into something usable for CDs to pirate. I've always figured in that case it probably isn't someone like a janitor or something....a studio intern, someone even higher up than that could be possible as well. It seems like it would be a very complicated process, especially if it's supposedly done in secret so it's very understandable that there's curiosity about who does it and how.
     
  13. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    Exactly accurate. This won't dampen sales with the general movie going public. Or the fanboys that have seen the workprint, and are now looking forward to seeing the "real" thing.
     
  14. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    I suppose a problem now is the portability of technology.

    On the studio networks and drives, there are probably countless versions of a given film. (I recall reading about some film -- True Lies? -- where one person's job was to keep track of the different versions floating around to make sure that the right work was being done on the right versions. (After all, why spend a lot of time color-correcting a print that has FPO composites?) I suppose the term now is "source control.")

    Combine that with the fact that (a) USB thumb-drives are invisible in our culture, and can easily store 8+GB of data, and (b) mastering software isn't expensive. Final Cut Studio is something like $1300 MSRP, which includes a fairly nice compression package for video. Other packages are commercially available for less that do a fine job (particularly if you don't need all the other stuff, for example, in Final Cut Studio.)

    Even down-converting a 192kHz-24bit-24 track audio master of a film-score isn't terribly difficult. After all, that's 5GB for an hour of the above example. The down-mix and down-convert, well, most of that would be taken in setting up the down-mix. But Logic Pro, Soundtrack, Audition -- none of them care; they'll handle it without any trouble. Audition, the last time I looked, was $100.

    To quote Darth Vader, "all too easy."

    As so many security experts say, it's not the external threats that'll get you; it's the internal ones that are really serious. If nothing else, again, physical access. No fire-wall in the world can protect against that.

    Leo
     
  15. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

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    I agree, but if the film does open poorly they'll use it as an excuse. I have little intention of seeing "Wolverine" unless it gets really good reviews from a majority of critics. X3 just put too much of a bad taste in my mouth and news of reshoots are never a good sign. Not to mention the trailer leaves me cold. And I think there's plenty of people like me who will skip it for the very same reasons. But if the film performs poorly it won't be because of that, it'll be because of this leaked copy. They'll use it to save their own butts and not have to admit they made an inferior film.
     
  16. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    "Exactly accurate. This won't dampen sales with the general movie going public. Or the fanboys that have seen the workprint, and are now looking forward to seeing the "real" thing."

    Correct about the general public. But some fanboys, on SHH for example, have reacted so badly to the workprint (the film itself, not that its a "incomplete version") that they are now saying they wont see the film theatercially, when they had planned on it before seeing the workprint.

    Even though its quite alot of people on the forum who didnt like it, its still a small number of people compared to the general public despite their efforts to spread the word that the film really disappoints.
     
  17. Brian Borst

    Brian Borst Screenwriter

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    A lot of films use reshoots. They did it on Lord of the Rings, and those films aren't bad. I also read a lot of comments of people who had seen the workprint that they want to see it again on the big screen, with the finished effects and such. I also doubt it the film would do bad business. No matter what the quality of the film is, it's still Wolverine, an immensely popular character.
     
  18. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    I think the problem is quite simple. These rich souls need to go to a theater to watch a movie. No, not the downloaders but the actual producers.

    The reason I say this is that I dated a girl a few years back and she had an uncle working as a producer out in Hollywood. She told me that she could get any movie on a pressed disc (not DVD-R) weeks or months before it's release date. I asked how this was possible and she said that her uncle told her that these things just get passed around. If this is true then there's no wonder one gets posted online. Instead of passing these things around they need to make the people go to the theater and watch them.

    I have no reason to doubt her story as her uncle does have credits up at IMDB but I also got to see these pressed discs and the titles. She wasn't lying about getting copies 1-3 weeks early. She wasn't a bootlegger, didn't even own a computer but she was a movie fan and got these pressed discs very early.

    If this X-MEN thing is just a workprint then I'm sure fans will still line up to see the real thing.
     
  19. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    It's a catch-22 for me. I'm not dying to see Wolverine so I have no interest in seeing an incomplete version of the movie but then if I was dying to see it, I wouldn't want to see an incomplete version of it either.
     
  20. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    Iron Man opened strongly. After people spread the word on what a great super hero movie it was, it was like a snowball effect. It packed people in(even at the cheap theaters). Ditto with the Dark Knight.
    Spiderman 3 made nearly $400 million before people realized what they were rushing to see. Sales started slowing.
    I'm sure Wolverine will make it's production cost back.
    How it does after the first couple weeks depends on how good the film is.
     

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