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WB Took Pains To "Delay" Pirating of Dark Knight

CmdrTaco posted about 6 years ago | from the something-to-think-about dept.

Movies 642

Jay writes "The L.A. Times is reporting on a new studio tactic — not to prevent piracy, but to delay it, as was the case with special tactics used with Dark Knight. 'Warner Bros. executives said the extra vigilance paid off, helping to prevent camcorded copies of the reported $180-million film from reaching Internet file-sharing sites for about 38 hours. Although that doesn't sound like much progress, it was enough time to keep bootleg DVDs off the streets as the film racked up a record-breaking $158.4 million on opening weekend. The movie has now taken in more than $300 million. The success of an anti-piracy campaign is measured in the number of hours it buys before the digital dam breaks.'" You know what else helps to have a big opening weekend? Making a good movie.

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You know what else? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24368051)

Not having any niggers in the movie helps.

Re:You know what else? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24368529)

Morgan Freeman was in it. You fail.

Re:You know what else? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24368889)

Morgan Freeman is a fine African American citizen. Are you calling him a nigger? You racist bastard!!

well... (5, Insightful)

i_liek_turtles (1110703) | about 6 years ago | (#24368057)

"If the movie's a stinker, the word will travel at the speed of a mouse click, ruining chances of making back money." So you can't get money for a shoddy product? Cry me a river.

From the article: (5, Funny)

martin_henry (1032656) | about 6 years ago | (#24368185)

"If the movie's a stiff, and word gets out too early that it's a stiff, it's devastating to the business model," Garland said.

here come the tears...

Re:well... (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 6 years ago | (#24368317)

What's amazing is that these studios seem to be focused on the losses they incur from a bad movie. That's unreal: the metric is not how good a movie is, but rather, how effectively they can trick people into seeing a really bad movie. One doesn't need special effects to make a great film, just talented and creative directors, writers, and actors. It would be one thing if they only mentioned it causally, but they mention it over and over again, as if their biggest fear is that piracy will expose them as shitty film makers.

I still remember the time when people would wait for movie critics to give their opinion on a movie before they went to see it. I also remember not wasting money on movies that received bad reviews.

Re:well... (5, Interesting)

tzhuge (1031302) | about 6 years ago | (#24368697)

"They" are business people, and probably negligent in their jobs if they didn't focus on box-office sales as a metric. Like it or not, the movie going public likes CG-fest blockbusters, and, as long as that's the case, the studios are going to focus on those.

Re:well... (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 6 years ago | (#24368703)

I still remember the time when people would wait for movie critics to give their opinion on a movie before they went to see it.

Which is why movie critics get advance screenings and then their (favourable) opinion gets blasted all over the mediasphere as part of the advertising campaign.

I also remember not wasting money on movies that received bad reviews.

Nowadays people won't even waste bandwidth on movies that receive bad reviews and this trend disturbs the studios greatly, since it shows that nobody wants to watch some of their crap, even when it is free.

How do you know what a good movie? (5, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | about 6 years ago | (#24368761)

The great irony of this, is that everyone on the board thinks that the studio can just arbitrarily make a good movie button.

"well, just make a good movie", betrays a total lack of understanding for the arts.

No one really knows a canned formula for making a good movie. A studio can do everything that it thinks will make a movie, best writers, best directors, best actors, and that doesn't guarantee a good picture at all. If you had 100 guys in a room, each of which with their own ideas, how do you know which of those is going to make a movie that will gross 300 million dollars? Clearly, if it was so easy to make a hit movie, then, don't you think they would do it. And, even if they did have a formula to make hit movies, half of the people on this board would be complaining that movies are formulaic.

Re:How do you know what a good movie? (5, Insightful)

HairyCanary (688865) | about 6 years ago | (#24368865)

There may not be a canned formula for making a good movie, but there sure is a number of well known formulas for making *bad* ones. I think that when most people say "make a good movie" they really mean "don't deliberately make a crappy one." There will always be stinkers, but they should be *creative* stinkers at least.

Re:well... (4, Interesting)

ethanms (319039) | about 6 years ago | (#24368549)

"If the movie's a stiff, and word gets out too early that it's a stiff, it's devastating to the business model," Garland said."

Let's be fair... those words did not come from the studio, they came from the CEO of a biz that "monitors" file sharing networks--my guess is that no studio would publicly agree with that particular sentiment.

As Morty Seinfeld once said, "You know what sells clothes? Cheap fabric and dark lighting."

You know that sell movies? Dead leading actors and professional film critics on your pay roll.

Not The Same People (5, Insightful)

TheMeuge (645043) | about 6 years ago | (#24368601)

The people who put up their $150+ million to set the box-office record for the "Dark Knight" are not the same people who would be watching bad camcorder videos. The latter don't mind waiting an extra 38 hours, and certainly do mind $12/ticket.

Every download or bootleg DVD != movie ticket.

Maybe if the movie and music executives finally understand that the pirates are not potential customers, they'll focus on improving the satisfaction of actual customers, and thus earn more money. Instead, they are beating a horse that's not only already dead, but is rather decayed at this point.

Re:Not The Same People (4, Insightful)

Retric (704075) | about 6 years ago | (#24368705)

I know someone who stopped paying for movies and just downloads them now. So some download or bootleg DVD = movie ticket.

Re:well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24368683)

The problem is the studios are often not getting money they should irrespective of if its shoddy or not.

Preserving our rights (5, Informative)

Findeton (818988) | about 6 years ago | (#24368071)

Here in Spain what you call piracy is LEGAL if you don't earn money with it. And so it was on your countries not so long ago. We just preserved our rights.

Re:Preserving our rights (5, Insightful)

omeomi (675045) | about 6 years ago | (#24368155)

Here in Spain what you call piracy is LEGAL if you don't earn money with it. And so it was on your countries not so long ago. We just preserved our rights.

I don't think copying films or other media and redistributing them--even for free--has every been legal in the US. It's still legal to make personal copies, or make copies in an educational setting, but I think it would be pretty hard to argue that you have a "right" to copy and redistribute films for free.

Re:Preserving our rights (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24368281)

Shhh, Europeans know everything. Bow down before their mighty wisdom.

Re:Preserving our rights (2, Insightful)

holmedog (1130941) | about 6 years ago | (#24368615)

Oh come on, mod the parent flamebait? If he had said US'ians instead of Europeans everyone would have laughed and modded it +5 funny.

Re:Preserving our rights (3, Funny)

autocracy (192714) | about 6 years ago | (#24368781)

That's because of all the cameras (at least, in Britain).

Re:Preserving our rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24368381)

If something has been broadcasted, then it is morally acceptable to copy and distribute it for free.

Re:Preserving our rights (1)

maxume (22995) | about 6 years ago | (#24368537)

It depends a great deal on who made the movie.

Immigration? (4, Funny)

tepples (727027) | about 6 years ago | (#24368585)

Here in Spain

Does Spain offer asylum for refugees from the U.S. copyright regime?

first postage? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24368081)

first post, w00t!

hahah (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24368087)

ass pirating, that is! just ask Heath "bareback mountain" Ledger.

Re:hahah (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24368395)

I tried, but he's not answering his cell phone.

Hey WB! (5, Funny)

Ariastis (797888) | about 6 years ago | (#24368089)

Why so serious??

Re:Hey WB! (5, Funny)

Osurak (1013927) | about 6 years ago | (#24368157)

Want to see a magic trick? I'm going to make these bootleg DVDs disappear.

Honestly, now... (5, Insightful)

Ikonoclasm (1139897) | about 6 years ago | (#24368095)

Do they really think those 38 hours bought them anything? Do they honestly believe that their profits would have been reduced had a crappy cam recording been available 38 hours earlier? I'm sorry, but I'm just not capable of managing that level of suspension of disbelief. Seems more like a set-up for a later date in Congress where movie execs get to testify that they spent $x million to stave off the camming and all they were able to manage was 38 hours. I wonder just how dedicated they were to these "delaying tactics."

Re:Honestly, now... (3, Insightful)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | about 6 years ago | (#24368173)

It doesn't matter what they actually believe, it's what they can trick congress into believing.

Re:Honestly, now... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24368407)

The congressmen can't be that stupid right?

Re:Honestly, now... (1, Redundant)

smidget2k4 (847334) | about 6 years ago | (#24368513)

The congressmen can't be that stupid right?

You must be new here...

Re:Honestly, now... (1)

thrillseeker (518224) | about 6 years ago | (#24368783)

they've earned every point of their single-digit approval rating

Re:Honestly, now... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24368199)

I'm sorry, but I'm just not capable of managing that level of suspension of disbelief.

Hehehe. I know what you mean. I can suspend my disbelief long enough to imagine a guy in a bat costume flying and swinging around a darkened city fighting the forces of evil, but I can't figure out how a 38 hour delay makes any sort of dent in stopping piracy.

Re:Honestly, now... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24368287)

It's a pretty well known tactic for games. (Basically, making the copy protection tedious to crack rather than simply hard.)

Big budget games make the bulk of their sales during the first month, so if you can avoid getting cracked while the hype is still going, it can have a big impact.

So, my point here is, that this is not without precedent, and I'm sure it has some kind of impact on movies too.

Re:Honestly, now... (2, Insightful)

GigaHurtsMyRobot (1143329) | about 6 years ago | (#24368387)

Good point, sir. Who is happy seeing a movie like that in crappy camcorder vision? Not I.

I went to the midnight show and saw it in glorious high-definition... but I've watched the crappy camcorder version twice, since. That's not piracy, imho.

Re:Honestly, now... (0)

aliquis (678370) | about 6 years ago | (#24368691)

It's delivered in digital form and not on film? And the resolution is just 1080p?

Re:Honestly, now... (1)

jgarra23 (1109651) | about 6 years ago | (#24368495)

I agree. I'm not going to some shitty movie theater to see the damn movie & I'm not downloading some crappy cam of it either. The movie is overexposed (as are most) and I've seen the whole film in HD previews on my tv.

Re:Honestly, now... (2, Interesting)

Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) | about 6 years ago | (#24368707)

it's two and a half hours and barely a minute wasted. you have not seen it.

Re:Honestly, now... (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 6 years ago | (#24368539)

Yeah, you are probably correct, I've read so many comments from people saying the movie is great, and it got #1 on imdb immediatly, so my first reaction was that they got the money because the movie was GREAT aswell (I haven't seen it..)

Sucks if they will use that as an excuse to blame piracy :(

And how will they explain if it goes well week two aswell? Even if there are pirated copies out in the wild?

Re:Honestly, now... (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 6 years ago | (#24368587)

Not to forget people are more likely to want to see a great movie in the cinema, especially if the picture and sound is great aswell I guess.

Just compare the IMDB score of a movie which have sold like crap and which most people saw later as a pirated copy ... Or how much people enjoy watching crap at the cinema.

Re:Honestly, now... (5, Insightful)

philspear (1142299) | about 6 years ago | (#24368659)

Well, I was all excited to see bootlegged batman on my TV on opening day, all fuzzy and jumpy recorded an hour prior. In fact I camped out the night before at my local bootlegger. Imagine my dissapointment when he didn't get so much as a spanish version.

After I heard it would be 37 hours I was like "no way am I going to wait THAT long" and promptly bought tickets. Because you know, if I'm going to watch a shitty bootleg of a movie, I'm going to do it in the first day of the movie's release.

What about after the pirated copies were out? (5, Insightful)

omeomi (675045) | about 6 years ago | (#24368103)

FTA: "it was enough time to keep bootleg DVDs off the streets as the film racked up a record-breaking $158.4 million on opening weekend. The movie has now taken in more than $300 million."

So, they credit those 38 hours for the record-breaking $158.4 million they made on opening weekend, but they've made another $150 million since the pirated copies have been available (according to the article). So, the pirated copies becoming available didn't seem to have much of an affect, did it?

Re:What about after the pirated copies were out? (5, Insightful)

PIBM (588930) | about 6 years ago | (#24368323)

Actually, as they said in TFA, preventing copies from reaching out is mostly helpfull when you have a dud in your hands. If the movie's bad, and people learn it before the weekend, the opening event will be very bad and you lose tons of money. If they don't know about it yet, they'll all go to the theater and get ripped off...

Re:What about after the pirated copies were out? (1)

revengance (132255) | about 6 years ago | (#24368441)

So they are stopping the pirates from spreading the truth?

Re:What about after the pirated copies were out? (0, Troll)

bmorency (1221186) | about 6 years ago | (#24368379)

How do you know? $150 million is a lot but maybe if the pirated copies were still not available that number could be even higher.

Re:What about after the pirated copies were out? (1)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | about 6 years ago | (#24368437)

Movies almost always make the most money they're going to make on opening weekend. There is the occasional sleeper which becomes a hit later on, but TDK is most definitely not one of those.

Re:What about after the pirated copies were out? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24368583)

I, for one, would never have paid to see this excellent movie on the big screen in full surround if I could have downloaded a crappy camcorder copy with someone's head blocking 1/3 of the screen... nosiree!

Re:What about after the pirated copies were out? (2, Insightful)

kidgenius (704962) | about 6 years ago | (#24368649)

No, that's not what they said. What they said was they were able to keep the film from being bootlegged, DESPITE an incredibly successful opening. With that many people watching it, it's a shock that a cam copy didn't come out SOONER.

Re:What about after the pirated copies were out? (4, Insightful)

Deathlizard (115856) | about 6 years ago | (#24368877)

Considering that TDK broke the 2nd Week record [the-numbers.com] , I'd say that it pretty much shoots down that "piracy kills sales" theory.

Another thing. I saw a Pirate version of TDK after seeing it the first day. I can say without any doubt that the Pirate version ruins this movie. If you watched this movie pirated, you'll probably think it sucks. It just doesn't work the same as it does in the theater, since they use detailed shots and surround sound extensively to build up tension and effect, especially in the shock moments of the film. Basically, this movie deserves your money, so do yourself a favor and watch it in a Theater.

It would have made that money anyways (1)

matazar (1104563) | about 6 years ago | (#24368117)

Cam quality sucks and for a movie as good as this, people are going to pay to see a quality version in theaters.
Even if it was a terrible movie, people would still pay to see it. They are wasting their time trying to delay piracy.

Re:It would have made that money anyways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24368445)

Actually around the "quality" in the theaters is so bad that I'd rather wait for the DVD release.

Re:It would have made that money anyways (1)

matazar (1104563) | about 6 years ago | (#24368493)

It's still 100x better than the cam.

I watched it in theaters and then looked at the sample of a cam version which is barely watchable.

Re:It would have made that money anyways (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 6 years ago | (#24368479)

Yeah, I watched Iron Man in the cinema and it was worth it. Not so sure about the recent Indiana Jones and the Tarzan Kid of Doom - some relatives wanted to see it so we went, as per normal movies I set my IQ to low (and suspension of disbelief to medium), and it initially went like an average Indy Jones movie but when Tarzan Boy started swinging from tree to tree, let's just say my default configuration wasn't ready for that).

I'm glad I didn't watch Star Wars Episode 2-3 in the cinema.

LoTR = worth it on large screen (I must say the last one seemed to have like 12 endings and they couldn't decide which ones to cut so they showed them all ;) ).

In my country there are plenty of distributors of Unauthorized Copies, but people were queuing up to watch LoTR in the cinemas, even _weeks_ after the first screening, tickets were often sold out.

You make a good movie, people will buy the tickets. People can make coffee at home and many have fancy expensive coffee machines at home, but lots of people still go to Starbucks and pay for coffee.

Cams (5, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | about 6 years ago | (#24368125)

Does anyone really download Cam copies of movies these days? Especially for dark, special effect-filled, high motion movies like Dark Knight where most Cams are basically unwatchable.

I'd be surprised if Cam copies had *any* actual impact on movie ticket revenues; I know if I was so desperate to see a movie that I couldn't wait for the DVD release (Or DVD rip), I'd pay the £6 to watch it in the cinema in decent quality on a big screen.

Re:Cams (1)

BorgDrone (64343) | about 6 years ago | (#24368269)

Indeed, in this time of HDTV and surround sound, I wonder why anyone even bothers releasing or watching a CAM version.

Re:Cams (1)

jandrese (485) | about 6 years ago | (#24368579)

Worse, Cam caps are likely to have difficulty with dark scenes, which would have made most of The Dark Knight unwatchable period (oh, there's a dark blob moving near another dark blob...).

Re:Cams (4, Insightful)

Xtravar (725372) | about 6 years ago | (#24368619)

If you're curious about a new movie but don't care about it enough to pay for a ticket... why not watch a cam rip?

Of course most people want to see Batman in person and not a cam rip, but for less anticipated movies (and less special effects movies) the eye candy is not that important.

Like let's say a new movie like "Sex and the City" is out, and you're half interested for whatever reason, but you would never pay $9 for a ticket to see it. Obviously, nobody sees that movie for the graphics, right? You load up Bittorrent, download the cam rip, and watch it without leaving your house. The bonus is that nobody has to know you wanted to see it. Or maybe there's a girlfriend involved who wanted to see it, and you only watch it with her because it's in the privacy of your home, and save $18 then.

I'm just throwing out scenarios here, but there are plenty of reasons to watch cam rips. Maybe you're poor, or don't have a HD home theater, or whatever.

Re:Cams (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 6 years ago | (#24368829)

Maybe you're poor, or don't have a HD home theater, or whatever.

Well, if you're poor, that pretty much automatically disqualifies you as a potential customer.

At that point, it only becomes a pointless debate about whether it's "fair" for you to get to see it anyway. But it has pretty much zero economic impact.

And another thing (5, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | about 6 years ago | (#24368143)

You know what helps to prevent piracy?

Making a really terrible movie.

There are people out there who will track you down, smear you with honey and stake you out on top of an ant hill if you catch you distributing copies of "Alone in the Dark" or "BloodRayne". It's how the community polices itself.

Re:And another thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24368349)

Uh, ever heard of cinemageddon?

Rumor has it... (2, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | about 6 years ago | (#24368151)

They used the Disappearing Camcorder Trick© to "persuade" would be pirateurs to go elsewhere...

Re:Rumor has it... (1)

sirstar (789206) | about 6 years ago | (#24368759)

Ta-Da! Where did the Camcorder go?

only 300mil (2, Insightful)

MikeyG79 (225212) | about 6 years ago | (#24368193)

Wow - 300million and they are worried about a thousand people watching poor quality pirated copies. Bet it wouldn't even be 1mil less in earnings

Fidelity is its own reward... (1)

wild_quinine (998562) | about 6 years ago | (#24368207)

My ability to appreciate fidelity has improved leaps and bounds with some of the innovations we've been seeing in quality, and I don't specifically mean Blu Ray or HDTV broadcasts, although those have certainly had an impact, but even high quality high resolution screens and DVD players that can output the image properly, and really make a difference. I couldn't watch a cam job if you paid me.

The down side is that the cinema I went to watch this movie at let the movie slip out of focus and completely ruined the whole thing for me.

Double dare (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24368209)

This is a double dare for the pirates to break the 38 hour record next time. What a useless tactic.

This is priceless:
"If the movie's a stiff, and word gets out too early that it's a stiff, it's devastating to the business model," Garland said."

In another words, if we can keep the movie audience quiet for several days, we will rip off enough people to cover our costs and make some extra dough.

Re:Double dare (2, Informative)

Lucky_Norseman (682487) | about 6 years ago | (#24368591)

This is priceless: "If the movie's a stiff, and word gets out too early that it's a stiff, it's devastating to the business model," Garland said."

In another words, if we can keep the movie audience quiet for several days, we will rip off enough people to cover our costs and make some extra dough.

That is the business model. Screwing the customer.

Considering the release date in Germany... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24368213)

Considering that the movie is not going to be released in Germany until late August, there isn't much of a chance to prevent bootleg copies from being available before the theatrical release. Let's see how that strategy works for them.

Earth to studios (3, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 6 years ago | (#24368505)

The Internet is worldwide. All audio/visual medias can be transfered via the internet.

Update your business model and do world-wide releases.

Marketspeak: you'll have more chance of ripping off people this way, especially on the opening weekend.

Doubtful (1)

DustyShadow (691635) | about 6 years ago | (#24368221)

Those who pirate movies are going to do it anyways. I highly doubt delaying them a few hours is going to change their weekend plans.

I never understood screeners (3, Insightful)

Piata (927858) | about 6 years ago | (#24368225)

I never understood the appeal of screeners. If I'm not interested enough to see a movie when it comes out in theaters, I'll rent it when it comes out on DVD. Watching a shaky cam with terrible audio at some awkward angle and half the screen covered in subtitles is not even worth the bandwidth needed to download it.

Re:I never understood screeners (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | about 6 years ago | (#24368357)

THIS. Teh 'Hancock' cam sucked green donkey dick!

=Smidge=

Re:I never understood screeners (2, Informative)

Mascot (120795) | about 6 years ago | (#24368401)

You seem to be mixing the terms. Screeners are not cam jobs.

That nitpick besides, I totally agree. I'd never ruin a movie by watching a cam. These days I don't bother with anything below DVD quality and 5.1 sound.

Since I loath going to the cinema, this usually means having to wait a bit. But I don't mind.

Re:I never understood screeners (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24368457)

Terminology..

Screener means a screening copy, that goes out to reviewers, award committees and people like that. It's usually a DVD or VHS rip.

Re:I never understood screeners (1)

Ubitsa_teh_1337 (1006277) | about 6 years ago | (#24368461)

A cam is not the same as a 'screener'. These days, DVD screeners usually have near-DVD quality, so for most movies it's quite suitable. For a movie like Dark Knight, a dvd screener of course wouldn't cut it. But neither will the DVD - I'll download the HD :)

Telesync, then. (3, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 6 years ago | (#24368489)

A shakey cam is not worth the bandwidth.

However, someone using a multi-thousand-dollar camcorder, with the framerate synced to the projector's, and the audio dubbed directly from the source... It won't be as good as a DVD rip later (or Blu-Ray/HD), but if I missed it in our local theater (which only has two screens), yes, it definitely might be worth watching.

While it won't necessarily be as professionally done, keep in mind that telesync is the same process by which actual DVDs are made from a movie reel.

Re:I never understood screeners (1)

martin_henry (1032656) | about 6 years ago | (#24368651)

dvd screener != cam recording

Der... (5, Interesting)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 6 years ago | (#24368237)

I'm just glad the summary had this added on: "You know what else helps have a big opening weekend? Making a good movie." I mean, seriously, the successful opening weekend probably had next-to-nothing with the "extra vigilance" and had everything to do with the fact that the movie is, top to bottom, fantastic. Make a good movie and people will pay to see it. Make good product and people will pay money for it. It's not rocket science. But, of course, they'll tout the success of the movie and the "extra vigilance" as proof that piracy hurts their other movies which don't have similar record-breaking opening weeks. Never you mind that those movies aren't half as good as The Dark Knight - their success suffered because of those filthy pirates! sigh...

Re:Der... (1)

bjourne (1034822) | about 6 years ago | (#24368765)

I don't find that theory all that unrealistic. Of the cinema movies I have seen in the last two years, almost half of them have been bad. Often when deciding what movie to watch, you have no other information available than some awesome looking posters and TV commercials. It is a market with insufficient information completely controlled by the sellers. If I knew beforehand which movies stink, then ofcourse I would buy less cinema tickets.

It is not that lots of people are watching camcorded movies instead of purchasing tickets, but those that do, and decides to post how awful the movie is, reduces sales.

Re:Der... (1)

ContractualObligatio (850987) | about 6 years ago | (#24368879)

No, the successful opening weekend has a lot to do with marketing, rather than the quality of the movie. Although of course a good movie is easier to market, it also has to be visually impressive, of a mass market genre, building on established characters or actors, and so on. Just because something is a good film doesn't mean the mass market will like it. Ang Lee's Hulk is a good example - good film, true to the source material, lots of critics liked it, just as much action as The Incredible Hulk, stiffs because it isn't mindless enough for the Hulk Smash fans. Unless you're of the belief that everyone should have the same opinion, there's no way to guarantee a well made film will get a wildly positive response, so the difference between The Dark Knight (38hrs after opening) and The Hulk (2 weeks before the opening) is monetarily significant.

Make good product and people will pay money for it. It's not rocket science.

Thank you Captain Obvious, but also: Make good product and people will steal it. It's not rocket science. That isn't to get into the old "you can't steal intellectual property" argument, it's just to point out the vacuity of the statement.

I very much doubt that anyone at Warner is claiming the successful opening weekend is entirely due to the "extra vigilance", except for the people responsible for those particular measures. Nonetheless there is a clear business case for yet another measure in what must have been a fairly comprehensive production including viral marketing, advertising, product placement, casting, and other processes that some soulless people will measure in terms of money rather than art.

Of course, if you don't want those soulless money people involved, on principle you shouldn't watch films like The Dark Knight because they are well beyond the budgets of indie film making.

Re:Der... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24368897)

This little tactic is fine with me, let it show everyone that no matter how much or little a movie is shared, if it sucks, you wont be making any money.

You know what else helps (4, Insightful)

Britz (170620) | about 6 years ago | (#24368251)

have a big opening weekend? Making a good movie. ... or getting your star killed.

Also:
(from Wikipedia):
Warner Bros. created a viral marketing campaign for The Dark Knight, developing promotional websites and trailers highlighting screenshots of Heath Ledger as the Joker. After Ledger's death in January 2008, however, the studio refocused its promotional campaign.[3][4] The film was released on July 16, 2008 in Australia, on July 18, 2008 in North America, and on July 24, 2008 in the United Kingdom. Prior to its box office debut in North America, record numbers of advance tickets were sold for The Dark Knight. The film has broken multiple box office records, and achieved an overall approval rating of 95% on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

That's called good ol' fashioned marketing.

Couldn't they make DVDs (2, Interesting)

WormholeFiend (674934) | about 6 years ago | (#24368253)

of new theatrical releases available for rent too at the same time the movie is in theatres?

Not everyone wants to go watch a movie with a bunch of unruly kids / idiots who can't be bothered to shut up and/or turn off their cellphones

Matinee. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 6 years ago | (#24368517)

Most kids aren't smart enough to realize that movies are shown in the daytime, too, much cheaper, and much less crowded.

Re:Couldn't they make DVDs (2, Insightful)

Grey_14 (570901) | about 6 years ago | (#24368555)

heh, I went to a 12:01 showing of TDK, during both the watchmen trailer and the opening WB logo for the movie, you could have heard a pin drop in the theater, people were incredibly silent, after that I was far too absorbed in the movie to notice anything else around me. :P

(And yeah I know, going with the hardcore fan crowd isn't always possible, but it sure is nice)

Re:Couldn't they make DVDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24368789)

I think it's heading the opposite way...

We are lucky that we are still able to rent and buy new DVD movies on the same date because the studios make more money selling DVDs than through rental.
Still, the next model will be: cinema -> 3 month later pay-per-view (stream from studio's website) -> 1 month later for sell and for rental on netflix etc. (with the usual extras+extended crap) Same for games, first pay-per-play (perhaps even an hourly rate) and later you can actually buy it.
...and btw. if it weren't for piracy, DVDs would only be available 6 month after cinema date.

Opening weekend vs. bootleg copies? (2, Insightful)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | about 6 years ago | (#24368273)

Do people actually choose between watching a bootleg copy of a movie, and watching it in the theater in the opening weekend?

I'd expect bootleg copies to be in direct competition with dvd's, maybe hurting the value of tv rights, and perhaps even some of the last days the movie is on the big screen when you go there just to watch a movie, rather that a specific movie.

But on the opening weekend? It seems like an entirely different experience.

Re:Opening weekend vs. bootleg copies? (1)

Wiarumas (919682) | about 6 years ago | (#24368509)

I agree - I think that bootleg movies probably affect DVD sales rather than theatre ticket sales.

If a movie looks good, I go see it in the theatre. I then have the decision of wanting to see it again or not. If its bad, then I won't waste my time. If its good, then I ask myself, do I want to see it now, or in 4-8 months? Then, I ask myself, does a bootlegged copy give the movie justice or does this movie deserve a case, dvd menu, extras, etc.

Using Wall-E as an example... I saw it in the movies once, might see it again, might get the illegal version, and then will buy the DVD when its released. Do I do this for every film? Absolutely not... and trust me, I've lowered my standards for what constitutes a good film.

Re:Opening weekend vs. bootleg copies? (1, Insightful)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | about 6 years ago | (#24368637)

But on the opening weekend? It seems like an entirely different experience.

If I watch a bootleg, I can do it at home and not have to deal with idiot parents who bring their babies and toddlers.

Controlling bad information. (3, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | about 6 years ago | (#24368291)

Sounds to me like the only thing the studios are interested in is controlling the bad information. The studios want people ignorant as to if this is a good movie or not on opening night. Then a large group of people will risk their money to see it first, and the studio rakes in the dough even with a bad movie. From this perspective, T+38 hours is a hell of a lot better than T MINUS 2 weeks.

Public Library, check DVDs out FREE, no assholes! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24368293)

They can take any measure they like, pirated or not, I'll not waste money on a Hollywood movie, especially not when most movie experiences are polluted with:

(partial list)

# assholes talking
# assholes farting
# assholes laughing at the wrong time
# assholes gesticulating wildly
# assholes getting up during the middle of the movie and explaining loudly to the person near them why they're leaving and what do they want to eat or drink while they're blocking part of the screen
# assholes talking on their cell phones
# assholes allowing their cell phone to ring several times before touching it
# assholes not talking on their cell phones, but fondling them and waving them around so the light shines in your face and distracts you from the movie
# assholes coming in late and looking for seats
# assholes spoiling the movie by bragging about the ending because they've seen it before
# assholes who don't bathe or just arrived from their construction job and smile as they sit down next to you, as if you were happy to see them
# assholes who make out with hotties in front of you
# assholes who snack loudly
# assholes who stick their camcorder right next to you
# assholes who hold up their cellphone and aim it at the screen and move it around several times
# assholes who can't sit still and move around in their seats constantly
# assholes who start talking during slow or quiet parts of the movie because they're too stupid to take in the movie unless it's full of nonstop action so their mind starts to work again and they must fill it by talking and/or moving
# assholes who put their feet/legs over the back of your seat
# assholes who are sick and should stay home, but you hear them coughing throughout the entire movie
# assholes who bring their annoying families with them, mistaking it for a play area
# assholes who ask everyone in their row several times mundane questions and repeat themselves "what did you say? WHAT?"
# assholes who come for air conditioning only and take out their laptop or other work and shuffle papers and other objects

I'm not paying to see a movie in public, not with the assholes. I'm not paying to rent it, either. Instead, I'll wait a few months until it comes out to the public library on DVD, and check it out for free. FREE. I'll watch it in my own home without the assholes, and without wasting time and money in the process.

Fuck you MPAA, and fuck you assholes, I win.

Re:Public Library, check DVDs out FREE, no asshole (3, Interesting)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 6 years ago | (#24368665)

assholes who come for air conditioning only and take out their laptop or other work and shuffle papers and other objects

While I have seen almost every type of asshole on your list, I must say that I find it hard to believe that someone would pay for a movie ticket to actually work on their laptop while in the theater.

First of all, with all their "no pirates allowed" paranoia the theaters wouldn't let someone enter with their laptop.

Second, aren't all shopping malls equipped with air conditioning? They could sit on a bench and work there, for free.

If you have indeed seen such a thing, then that person was not only an asshole, but also an idiot.

Bleh. (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | about 6 years ago | (#24368385)

Bleh. Anti-piracy is just like a lock. It will never stop someone determined enough to break the lock. The question, as always, is not "if", but "when".

Re:Bleh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24368593)

So when can I pirate PS3 games?

scramble projector image only for cams? (3, Interesting)

Easy2RememberNick (179395) | about 6 years ago | (#24368459)

I often wonder why movie studios don't implement some sort of new technology to thwart 'cammers'.

  When you see video of say, a fence, or some object with lines close together often the video is distorted when played back, you'd think there would be some way to project an image so it's able to be seen clearly by people's eyes but not able to be recorded due to a camera limitations.

  Maybe a dual projector system and seeing that it's getting more common that a modern projector is film-less, all digital, it may be easier to modify it somehow.

Re:scramble projector image only for cams? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24368793)

Infrared light patterns would be invisible, but would screw up any CCD based camera. Just for fun, you can watch your remotes flash on a digital camera viewscreen.

Re:scramble projector image only for cams? (1)

KingOfGod (884633) | about 6 years ago | (#24368849)

If you put up some powerful IR diodes near and around the screen, most digital cameras should be "blinded".

good movies and big openings (1)

cptnapalm (120276) | about 6 years ago | (#24368589)

"You know what else helps have a big opening weekend? Making a good movie."

Citation?

Right (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | about 6 years ago | (#24368753)

You know what else helps have a big opening weekend? Making a good movie.

I'm just going to assume that whoever wrote this didn't actually see the movie yet.

Dont think so. (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 6 years ago | (#24368787)

the reason for this movie being successful is the fact that it IS good. everyone is recommending it to each other.

Uh, people *like* seeing movies in theatres ... (5, Informative)

remitaylor (884490) | about 6 years ago | (#24368891)

I'm unwilling to pay box office prices for crappo movies - I often watch bootlegs instead.

When movies are supposed to be good, however, I'm happy to give the theatre way too much money for tickets, popcorn, etc. I love going to movies and all of my fellow "pirates" do too.

I drove 40 minutes and waited in line for over an hour to see The Dark Knight at an IMAX theatre ... and it was *AWESOME*

I was happy to pay for WALL-E too.

Keep making movies that *DON'T SUCK* and people will pay to see them ... keep making pieces of sh*t and people will download them or wait for DVD.

All of the movies that I've watched bootlegs for ... either:
1) the movie rocked, so I went to see it in the theatre after watching the bootleg
2) the movie sucked ... I simply wouldn't have watched it, had the bootleg not existed ... *maybe* I would pay to rent the DVD

^ all hypothetical, ofcourse ... i've never _actually_ seen one of these so-called 'bootlegs' ...

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