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Impact of Piracy on the Movie Business


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#1 of 35 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted April 01 2009 - 11:37 AM

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.

Quote:
2ND UPDATE: I've just been given this statement by 20th Century Fox:

"Last night, a stolen, incomplete and early version of X-Men Origins: Wolverine was posted illegally on a website. It was without many effects, had missing and unedited scenes and temporary sound and music. We immediately contacted the appropriate legal authorities and had it removed. We forensically mark our content so we can identify sources that make it available or download it. The source of the initial leak and any subsequent postings will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law – the courts have handed down significant criminal sentences for such acts in the past. The FBI and the MPAA also are actively investigating this crime. We are encouraged by the support of fansites condemning this illegal posting and pointing out that such theft undermines the enormous efforts of the filmmakers and actors, and above all, hurts the fans of the film."

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 ?

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#2 of 35 OFFLINE   Pete-D

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Posted April 01 2009 - 01:51 PM

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 of 35 OFFLINE   Malcolm R

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Posted April 01 2009 - 03:25 PM

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.
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#4 of 35 OFFLINE   Pete-D

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Posted April 01 2009 - 03:34 PM

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

#5 of 35 OFFLINE   Shad R

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Posted April 01 2009 - 07:59 PM

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 of 35 OFFLINE   Radioman970

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Posted April 02 2009 - 12:01 AM

My thoughts are why bother with that kind of thing anyway? I mean, no effects? Posted Image
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#7 of 35 OFFLINE   JediFonger

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Posted April 02 2009 - 04:20 AM

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 of 35 OFFLINE   Will_B

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Posted April 02 2009 - 06:17 AM

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.

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#9 of 35 ONLINE   TravisR

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Posted April 02 2009 - 08:48 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Will_B
Whichever of their employees stole it should be fired, of course.
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 of 35 OFFLINE   Diallo B

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Posted April 02 2009 - 01:40 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shad R

How do people get a hold of these copies?

seriously???

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#11 of 35 OFFLINE   Hanson

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Posted April 04 2009 - 03:12 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shad R
People who leak and download movies illegally are willing to watch them on crappy moniters with even crappier speakers.
I take it you've never heard of an HTPC?

#12 of 35 OFFLINE   Nicholas Martin

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Posted April 04 2009 - 03:55 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diallo B
seriously???

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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 of 35 OFFLINE   Bryan^H

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Posted April 04 2009 - 05:52 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Will_B
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.

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.

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#14 of 35 OFFLINE   Leo Kerr

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Posted April 05 2009 - 12:16 AM

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.

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#15 of 35 OFFLINE   Chad R

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Posted April 05 2009 - 12:44 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Will_B
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.

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 of 35 OFFLINE   JonZ

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Posted April 05 2009 - 01:20 AM

"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 of 35 OFFLINE   Brian Borst

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Posted April 05 2009 - 02:39 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad R
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.

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.
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#18 of 35 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted April 05 2009 - 03:15 AM

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 of 35 ONLINE   TravisR

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Posted April 05 2009 - 03:22 AM

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 of 35 OFFLINE   Bryan^H

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Posted April 05 2009 - 03:50 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonZ

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.
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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