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The Avengers: Why Pirates Failed To Prevent a Box Office Record

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the you-wouldn't-download-an-angry-green-dude dept.

Piracy 663

TheGift73 sends this excerpt from TorrentFreak: "Despite the widespread availability of pirated releases, The Avengers just scored a record-breaking $200 million opening weekend at the box office. While some are baffled to see that piracy failed to crush the movie's profits, it's really not that surprising. Claiming a camcorded copy of a movie seriously impacts box office attendance is the same as arguing that concert bootlegs stop people from seeing artists on stage. ... Of all the people who downloaded a pirate copy of the film about 20% came from the U.S. This means that roughly 100,000 Americans have downloaded a copy online through BitTorrent. Now, IF all these people bought a movie ticket instead then box office revenue would be just 0.5% higher. Not much of an impact, and even less when you consider that these 'pirates' do not all count as a lost sale."

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663 comments

Facts! Don't talk to me about facts! (5, Funny)

M1FCJ (586251) | about 2 years ago | (#39930811)

Please do not try to confuse people with facts and logic. We all know MPIAA knows best. Right? Right?

Re:Facts! Don't talk to me about facts! (-1, Offtopic)

scrumpjones (2634695) | about 2 years ago | (#39930859)

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Gamemaker's the best.
Gamemaker has no equal.
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Gamemaker takes programming to a whole new level.
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Re:Facts! Don't talk to me about facts! (-1, Offtopic)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | about 2 years ago | (#39931037)

Gamemaker is a nasty piece of shit that I wouldn't give to 8 year olds to develop with. Literally. I ran a workshop for little ones at our local University and had the option of using Gamemaker. Frankly, I felt it would insult their intelligence and those that did try to use it were appalled, and quickly moved on to more intelligent stuff. A lot of them had fun with FPS Creator, so if you're a budding young game developer browsing at -1, maybe give that a try or jump straight into Unity, Unreal or even Ogre.

Re:Facts! Don't talk to me about facts! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39931017)

If you use facts, the terrorists win!

How can you quantify the loss? (5, Interesting)

noh8rz3 (2593935) | about 2 years ago | (#39930817)

The summary is asking the wrong question. It's not whether piracy prevents blockbusters. It's how much does piracy reduce the box office receipts of new releases. Maybe avengers would have made $5 million more without piracy, or $20 million more, or 25 cents more. I have no idea. But let's at least ask the right questions. I'd appreciate anybody's thoughts on how much the piracy cost.

Re:How can you quantify the loss? (5, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#39930867)

Or how much piracy helped Hollywood gain? Of those 100,000 or so Americans that downloaded it, I'd be willing to bet a fair number of them did go see it in theaters simply because they liked the crappy version they downloaded and wanted the full cinematic experience.

Re:How can you quantify the loss? (5, Funny)

internerdj (1319281) | about 2 years ago | (#39931019)

I'd suggest those who wonder why people aren't visiting the theaters have not yet had "the full cinematic experience."

Re:How can you quantify the loss? (4, Funny)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about 2 years ago | (#39931115)

I have, it involved latex gloves, lube, and no post-coital cuddle.

Re:How can you quantify the loss? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39931259)

I don't go to theaters often, but this is the first I've heard of TSA screening before the movie starts.

Re:How can you quantify the loss? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39931359)

I don't go to theaters often, but this is the first I've heard of TSA screening before the movie starts.

It could not have been TSA, g0bshiTe said there was Lube involved

Re:How can you quantify the loss? (4, Interesting)

na1led (1030470) | about 2 years ago | (#39931307)

I can vouch for that, I downloaded Tron Legacy (cam video). The quality was terrible but it got me interested to go see the movie at cinema. Problem is that these Trailers always make these movies look good, but suck when you go watch them. If it's a good movie, I'll go watch it on the big screen, or buy the Blueray, but I'd like to see what I'm paying for first.

Re:How can you quantify the loss? (5, Insightful)

neokushan (932374) | about 2 years ago | (#39930883)

What makes you so sure that it actually causes a loss? You don't think that maybe some of the downloaders flicked through it, watched a bit of it or perhaps even the whole thing and thought to themselves "Hey that was pretty damn good, I want to go see it in the cinema and get the full experience!"?
Maybe if it wasn't for piracy, Avengers would have made $5million less.
Or maybe, just maybe, it would not have made a difference at all.

Re:How can you quantify the loss? (5, Interesting)

aztracker1 (702135) | about 2 years ago | (#39931281)

Can't speak for anyone else, but I go out to the movies several times a month... I'll often download a pirate copy if I have to go to the restroom during the middle of the film, so I can catch what I missed. I will also download copies of movies I have bought, as it's often easier and faster than transcoding them myself. I'm not always a lost sale, and a lot of times I am an added sale because of "piracy". I also tend to buy useful software, I may pirate 2-3 versions after my initial purchased version though, before purchasing again. In the end, I'm just a frugal bastard who wants a bit more convenience, and value for my money.

Re:How can you quantify the loss? (1)

Archfeld (6757) | about 2 years ago | (#39931291)

That is exactly what I did...Watched a few brief minutes of a poorly pirated copy, got a good laugh and decided it was worth seeing. I dragged my retired parents along for a lark and we all 3 loved it. Without seeing that few minutes of the pirated copy I never would have convinced the parents to see it so actually the pirated version GENERATED 2 more paid theater views.

Re:How can you quantify the loss? (5, Informative)

kiwimate (458274) | about 2 years ago | (#39930905)

Well, according to the article, and the summary too, actually, about 0.5%, maximum. But the article goes on to say this is in the U.S.

But does this mean that piracy is not an issue for the movie industry at all? Well not so fast.

A recent study showed that the US box office is not suffering from movie piracy, but that there is a detrimental effect on international box office figures. The researchers attribute this impact to the wide release gaps, which sometimes result in a high quality DVD copy being available on pirate sites while a movie is still showing in theaters.

Re:How can you quantify the loss? (5, Insightful)

ranton (36917) | about 2 years ago | (#39931231)

I think he meant to say that the percentage is meaningless, it is the actual dollar amount that matters. 0.5% may sound small, but $1,000,000 is a lot of money. Not relatively large, but that is still $1,000,000 more that should go to those investing in the movie and movie theatres, not people trying to get something for nothing.

Then again, that 0.5% is completely made up. For all I know, the pirating could have helped them make more money from free advertising ("Hey, I saw this awesome movie on Bittorrent, you should go see it this weekend").

Re:How can you quantify the loss? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39931341)

$1M US is chickenfeed considering how much it cost to make Avenges Assemble.

Re:How can you quantify the loss? (2, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | about 2 years ago | (#39931263)

What that tells us is that, just as we saw in the music industry, the primary driving reason for piracy is not cost, but rather unavailability. Not everybody likes the "full cinematic experience"—sticky floors, overpriced food, little b**tards throwing popcorn at your head, etc. However, lots of folks still would like to see the movie at the same time as everyone else so that they can talk about it with their friends.

Thus, the very act of trying to prop up the theaters through protectionist tactics drives people to pirate, resulting not in not lost sales, but rather delayed sales caused by the inability to buy the DVD at the same time as the movie appears in the theaters; many of those same pirates probably rent or buy a legit copy of the movie when it finally does come out on DVD.

Re:How can you quantify the loss? (2)

aztracker1 (702135) | about 2 years ago | (#39931293)

Maybe they should simply stop having release windows, and do international releases in under a week instead of months apart.

Re:How can you quantify the loss? (5, Insightful)

BlackThorne_DK (688564) | about 2 years ago | (#39931335)

Well, according to the article, and the summary too, actually, about 0.5%, maximum. But the article goes on to say this is in the U.S.

But does this mean that piracy is not an issue for the movie industry at all? Well not so fast.

A recent study showed that the US box office is not suffering from movie piracy, but that there is a detrimental effect on international box office figures. The researchers attribute this impact to the wide release gaps, which sometimes result in a high quality DVD copy being available on pirate sites while a movie is still showing in theaters.

Then fix the release gaps, and stop whining. The rest of the world is tired of being reduced to second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth class [wikipedia.org] US citizens...
If you want our money, start treating us like equals, and release the damn movies at the same time everywhere.
With digital releases, it shouldn't be that hard.

Re:How can you quantify the loss? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39931011)

Or in the case of The Avengers, people who pirated Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Captain America, The Hulk, or Thor may have become invested in the Marvel series and decided they needed to see this one in Theaters. Then you can say the same about people who've pirated Joss Whedon's stuff in the past and have become fans of him.

Re:How can you quantify the loss? (4, Insightful)

Altus (1034) | about 2 years ago | (#39931227)

Actually there is a halo effect with movies, a friend of mine did his PHD thesis in economics partially on this effect. When a big movie comes out the previous movies (if its a series) see a bump in DVD sales. Movies by the same director or with the same lead actors get a bump. In this case, certainly the previous "Avenger" movies in the "series" probably saw a bump in DVD sales and movies with Robert Downey Jr probably saw a bump.

The reason for this is likely pretty simple, people are talking about the Avengers and that stirs up interest in the previous movies, wanting to see them again or see them for the first time before the big movie or even a friend saying "Hey if you liked Robert Downey Jr in Iron man you should see Sherlock."

If there is a place where piracy is effecting the bottom line for studios it is probably seen in this effect where people might have been inspired to buy a copy of the Hulk to check it out but instead downloaded it to save a few bucks. It would be interesting to look at the spike in downloads for movies that your would expect to see a spike in DVD sales for.

Of course that doesn't mean every download of those movies is a lost sale, many of these movies are available for rental or VOD.

Re:How can you quantify the loss? (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39931305)

>>>I'd appreciate anybody's thoughts on how much the piracy cost.

I don't know why you say it asks the wrong questions? Assuming all 100000 downloaders bought tickets that would be just 0.6 million more on top of the 200 million actually earned. Not a big deal.

Cost? Very little because most of us either (a) don't want to actually PAY for the shit hollywood produces. I freely admit I've downloaded hundreds of movies this past year. If for some reason I was cutoff, I wouldn't run out and buy it. I'd just wait for a free version on TV. (b) Or they would like to pay but lack money to do so because they are kids, teens, college students.

ALSO: If the internet and downloading is so evil, why are RIAA and MPAA affiliated companies making money than ever before? They should be going broke but in reality they are getting rich. So rich, they are bribing politicians with election donations to pass CISPA and sign ACTA.

Re:How can you quantify the loss? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39931313)

Or maybe they'd have made less. I could contrive arguments, but lets not start out with the assumption that pirated versions only hurt and never help.

who cares about opening $ amounts? (5, Insightful)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 2 years ago | (#39930825)

With ticket prices way up (at least from the last time I paid to see a movie in a theater) of course even a bomb is going to have high $ sales.

What percentage of seats available were sold? I think that would be a better metric than gross dollars worth of tickets sold...

Re:who cares about opening $ amounts? (2)

hbar squared (1324203) | about 2 years ago | (#39930931)

In the town I saw it in this weekend, literally 100% of the Saturday seats were sold. Every. Single. Seat.

Re:who cares about opening $ amounts? (3, Informative)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | about 2 years ago | (#39931013)

The midnight show here was sold out, and they had it running on EVERY screen in the place for the midnight show, and then went to sell out for the rest of the weekend.

Re:who cares about opening $ amounts? (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about 2 years ago | (#39931365)

I went to the opening midnight showing myself. I had bought tickets for an all-day event, but my GF banged up her foot badly on Weds, and wouldn't be able to be at the theater all day. :( We wound up watching it at a Drive-In (quality about on-par with a cam rip, though better sound, local FM transmitter). I had joked about maybe just downloading a CAM RIP, and decided a Drive-In would be better.. only slightly. It was a really slow-paced movie and was really expensive, if you count the $90 for the two all-day tickets (prequel films, and feature), then the two tickets at the Drive-In. Needless to say, won't feel bad if I download a BR-RIP on release.

Re:who cares about opening $ amounts? (1)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | about 2 years ago | (#39931069)

I heard on the radio of theaters not having enough seats. People with tickets were walking in to the theater but every single seat was occupied.

Re:who cares about opening $ amounts? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39930971)

Well, the nearest cineplex was sold out for the entire weekend.

All 60 showings, in the three biggest capacity theaters in the cineplex, with 2 3-D screens and 1 2-D screen.

Seriously, noon to midnight, every single showing completely filled.

Re:who cares about opening $ amounts? (1)

iateyourcookies (1522473) | about 2 years ago | (#39931051)

It's not even a sensible argument... 0.5% of 200 million is still ONE MILLION DOLLARS. The Austin Powers reference wasn't even intentional!

Re:who cares about opening $ amounts? (2)

gstrickler (920733) | about 2 years ago | (#39931141)

But according to MPAA math, 100,000 pirated copies @ 2250-150k per copy is billions in lost revenue.

Better indicator (2)

Burning1 (204959) | about 2 years ago | (#39931327)

A slightly better indicator is to compare opening weekends against the inflation of ticket prices.

http://boxofficemojo.com/about/adjuster.htm [boxofficemojo.com]

By these measures. Titanic's inflation adjusted opening was only ~$50,000,000, inflation adjusted.

I also looked at Lord of the Rings, Avatar, and Gone with the Wind. Adjusting for inflation, none of them even came close to the Avengers.

Pirated and still paid for tickets (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39930833)

I live in US, downloaded a cam rip, and still bought three tickets to see it. Hell, I'll probably pay to see it again.

Re:Pirated and still paid for tickets (2)

SebaSOFT (859957) | about 2 years ago | (#39931021)

True, I really don't get the "Pirates failed...." argument of the OP. It sustains that the piracy scene is activelly trying to prevent people to go to the cinema.

Re:Pirated and still paid for tickets (5, Insightful)

Marillion (33728) | about 2 years ago | (#39931199)

Dear Hollywood,
The reason The Avengers succeeded where other movies performed poorly is because it was a special and unique movie. Specifically, it was a good movie that lots of people wanted to see.
Sincerely,
Me.

Re:Pirated and still paid for tickets (2)

Altus (1034) | about 2 years ago | (#39931245)

I really don't understand downloading the cam rip, especially if you knew you were going to go see it. What is the appeal?

Hollywood Multiplier (5, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#39930839)

You forgot to apply the Hollywood Multiplier. Each of those pirates would actually watch the movie at least 800 times apiece. In 3D. And buy tons of merchandise. If only the option to download it outside of the system wasn't available. So it's actually a 400% loss, not a *potential* 0.5% loss.

Re:Hollywood Multiplier (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39931169)

Dude, all you needed to do was include a large popcorn and soda. That'd more than made up the RIAA fudge factor.

And fudge, they should buy some of that too.

Re:Hollywood Multiplier (2)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about 2 years ago | (#39931323)

And all that lost revenue means there were fewer expenses for the studios to charge against the cost of the film to screw over the writers, director and actors. So, not only did they suffer from lost revenue, they suffered from lost losses!!! This is how movie studios (and record companies) actually think.

Yar (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39930861)

Yar. Though we be pirates brave and true, our great guns and carronades only reach about 1 mile inland - and that be with good harborage. Thar be no way we can conduct the required cannonades to plundar all movie theatres for thar treasure chests of delicious popcorn with non-dairy liquid.

Re:Yar (1)

Trails (629752) | about 2 years ago | (#39931049)

Aye, the buttery topin' in Tortuga be runnin' low, argh. Soon I'll only have me grog to put on me popcorn while watching a cam of the back'o some landlubber's seat! A pirate's life for me!

they're not mutually exclsusive (3, Insightful)

jaymz666 (34050) | about 2 years ago | (#39930865)

How do we know those 100K downloads didn't ALSO buy a ticket?
Also, how many of those 100K downloads bought a ticket because of the download?

Re:they're not mutually exclsusive (4, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#39930901)

And how many of the 300 million that didn't download it also didn't go to see it because they couldn't justify $15 for a movie that they only might like?

Re:they're not mutually exclsusive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39930937)

From TFSummary:

"Not much of an impact, and even less when you consider that these 'pirates' do not all count as a lost sale.

Re:they're not mutually exclsusive (4, Insightful)

Cinder6 (894572) | about 2 years ago | (#39931161)

Another important metric: How many of those 100k downloads were from people who wouldn't have bought a ticket even if they couldn't pirate it?

Um (5, Interesting)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#39930893)

People actually watch those camcordered versions? Really? I torrented one once. I thought it was a joke. Is there a market for pirated ebooks with blurry fonts or MP3s reduced to monaural sound at 16 Kbps, too?

Re:Um (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39930959)

If those were the only things available, sure. It opened internationally before it opened in the US, so if you wanted to see it, it was the only way short of hopping on a plane.

Re:Um (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#39931207)

If those were the only things available, sure. It opened internationally before it opened in the US, so if you wanted to see it, it was the only way short of hopping on a plane.

...or waiting until it was released in the US. Unless you are in the last stages of terminal cancer and for some reason seeing The Avengers is on your bucket list, it's not a big deal to wait a few days.

Re:Um (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#39931031)

You have three alternatives for seeing the Avengers in the near future:
$15 - watch it in crowded theaters at high def, pay gobs more for concessions
$0 - watch it at home at low def in your underwear with your own snacks
$0 - don't watch it (or wait until it comes out on DVD and watch it as often as you want for the price of a single theater viewing)

The second and third option cost the same and there are a lot of people that still get as much or more enjoyment from the low def movie in their own home. I chose the third option, but if I really wanted to see the movie I'd sure as hell go with option 2. If it turned out to be too crappy quality, I'm only out a few minutes of my time and I can still go see it in the theater.

Re:Um (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 2 years ago | (#39931321)

You have three alternatives for seeing the Avengers in the near future:
$15 - watch it in crowded theaters at high def, pay gobs more for concessions
$0 - watch it at home at low def in your underwear with your own snacks
$0 - don't watch it (or wait until it comes out on DVD and watch it as often as you want for the price of a single theater viewing)

There is obvously a fourth option, since I bought three tickets for the show this past Saturday morning for $15 TOTAL, not apiece.

Re:Um (1)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | about 2 years ago | (#39931101)

Agreed, some people really are that desperate. The comments on them are also hilarious "brilliant camcorder rip! A9/V9" - brilliant with respect to what? Watching the moon landing?

Re:Um (2)

netsavior (627338) | about 2 years ago | (#39931125)

I take it you never pirated audiobooks or ebooks pre-kindle. The Audible mp3s are getting better, but for a long time even pay audiobooks were super low quality. Before there were large name ebook vendors (and I am talking amazon and barnes here not the smaller older ones) most of the eBooks out there in pirateland were from spine ripped, ocr'd scan stacks. They weren't blurry, but they were full of ocr errors and formatting problems.

Re:Um (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39931189)

You drew that erudite conclusion from a sample size of 1?

I've never downloaded a pirated copy of a movie via torrent, but I've talked to people who were chagrined to get more than 1/2 way through a movie before someone in the theatre stood up and went to the bathroom. I've also seen pirated DVDs from Singapore that sold for $1, and the only way I could surmise from a cursory inspection of the label that they were pirated was from the spelling errors.

How long did it take you to download whatever pirated film you watched at the MPIAA offices (just so you could say you'd seen an example of what you are up against) being that you probably weren't seeding the torrent? ;-)

Re:Um (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39931195)

Oddly, for some animated movies the 'camming' can improve it if it wallows too deeply in the Uncanny Valley.

The new TinTin I rank in there, actually, the cam-rip version actually took me several minutes to realize it wasn't live-action because the 'blurry fuzzyness' of the cam-rip let my mind fill in the details better and the 'film noir' quality and color-tint it added actually suited the story and setting in the Arabian desert amazingly well I thought.

Yes, that's an EXCEPTIONAL case in all ways (just the right setting, original film could be called 'too sharp' and 'too cartoony' for the colors, etc) but yes, sometimes the cam-rips are quite good. :)

Re:Um (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39931229)

Yes. I BT'd The Hunger Games because of all the press I heard and read. I already block entertainment "news" from my google news, but I still heard about this movie in the news (NPR for one). I refused to purchase an overpriced ticked, so I downloaded a cam version. Was the experience the same as a theater? No. If the plot is any good, the quality is less important. No regrets, I saw a mediocre movie and still don't understand the hype it received. I have no desire to see a better "print". Curiosity was satisfied.

It was a re-hashed version of an old plot. With little new to add. I'm sure The Avengers will be more of the same. Burn Hollywood Burn!

Lost profits, ha. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39930909)

I watched a bit-torrent copy of Avengers, to see if it was appropriate for my child. It is, so we'll be buying TWO tickets.

Crappy camcorder copies work more like advertising than "crushing" box office sales. Assuming the movie is worth seeing, of course.

Stupid argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39930917)

Yes, big movies like this would probably not be much hurt by piracy. But a low-budget movie with a more limited audience would mean that what was only .5% for The Avengers could be more like 25% compared to ticket sales.

Re:Stupid argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39930995)

Why would a low budget film care about the proceeds? They are usually looking for some type of following that is generated through free-channels.

Pirates? (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#39930925)

I didn't even know there was a new Pirates of the Caribbean movie opening.

Re:Pirates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39931039)

No, not POTC - The Pirates [imdb.com] by Aardman Animations.

Good stuff, no doubt, but it can hardly compete with The Avengers!

They still don't get it. (5, Interesting)

metrix007 (200091) | about 2 years ago | (#39930933)

The thing about Piracy is, the people who pirate are not people who would have paid for it in the first place.

That's what they don't get. It's not stealing, because there are no lost sales.

People pirate because it is convenient, or because they want to see it and don't think it is worth paying for, or can't pay for it (students/unemployed as well as other regions). That is why Piracy makes no dent, because people are happy to pay for things worth paying for. All of the super hero movies. Good comedies. Shit like Contraband or MIB3 is simply going to do marginally well because it is tripe. Popcorn entertainment that is only worth paying for if there is nothing better to see and you still want to go to the movies.

I pirate a lot, because I can't afford to go to the theaters for most movies. Conversely most movies are not worth paying for and if I could not download them, I would be absolutely fine with that. The avengers is worth seeing in a cinema, which is why I will make sure I see it in one.

If studios, artists and programmers get rid of this idiotic concept that piracy is stealing and they are losing money, and just start making stuff worth paying for at a price people are willing to pay, then they will reap a profit. It's that simple, folks.

Re:They still don't get it. (-1, Flamebait)

IwantToKeepAnon (411424) | about 2 years ago | (#39931181)

Rationalization at it finest. Damn it I'm ENTITLED to see the movie EVEN IF I can't afford it. So ... hisssss noisssseee ...

You are not entitled to a job, a car, food on the table, or a movie in the DVD/Torrent player. Life is tough, get over yourself.

Re:They still don't get it. (1)

kiwimate (458274) | about 2 years ago | (#39931275)

The thing about Piracy is, the people who pirate are not people who would have paid for it in the first place. ...
People pirate because it is convenient...

As you say - some people may not pay for something that they'd pirate (but that always strikes me as a disingenuous argument - if it's really not very good, why waste your time downloading it and then watching it?). But there are plenty of people who would have paid for it but will pirate it because it's convenient. There's low risk of getting caught, and they simply don't want to pay.

If you're downloading something, it has value. Maybe you don't ascribe as much value to it as the movie theater does, but the fact you are downloading it and taking up time (both to retrieve it and to watch it) and money (allocated space on your hard drive, bandwidth that you purchased from your ISP, electricity) means it has value to you. You can refuse to call it stealing because it's not "real" and you haven't deprived anyone of anything, but that is mere sophistry.

If it truly has little to no value - stop downloading it. For you, who cannot afford to go to the theaters, do what other people do and go without until you can afford it, or it becomes a higher priority of what to do with your disposable income. Sometimes, in the grown up world, people can't have everything they want; they have to make choices.

To finally wrench this rant back on topic, much of the figures being discussed in this article are the "leaders" - people who are willing to see a low fidelity copy or who will put up with the crush of the opening weekend crowd because they want to be first and that's their priority. It's not the shoddy webcam dreck that most worries studios; it's the pirated high quality rips once the DVD has been released.

Re:They still don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39931369)

"The thing about Piracy is, the people who pirate are not people who would have paid for it in the first place."

That's not true. Obviously. Hope that helps.

Pirates increase sales! (5, Interesting)

zethreal (982453) | about 2 years ago | (#39930949)

Huge numbers of people pirated the movie before it was released. The movie broke the record for opening weekend sales. Therefore, using the same figuring style that the MPAA uses ( only in reverse ), piracy actually made the movie industry millions!

Why I go to the Cinema (1)

Dartz-IRL (1640117) | about 2 years ago | (#39930969)

If I just want to see a movie, I'll watch it at home.

Piracy shouldn't affect new-releases at all. People go to the cinema for the whole experience which is really something that can't be pirated, can it? Unless you install full projection equipment and a three story screen in your own home.

The rude interruptions from phone callers will come regardless.

Re:Why I go to the Cinema (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#39931157)

If I just want to see a movie, I'll watch it at home.

Piracy shouldn't affect new-releases at all. People go to the cinema for the whole experience which is really something that can't be pirated, can it? Unless you install full projection equipment and a three story screen in your own home.

The rude interruptions from phone callers will come regardless.

And the sticky floors. And $5 for a small box of Whoppers. And asking for two tickets for the 8:30 showing and getting two tickets for the 7:30 showing (which was already in progress) and having to argue with the manager about it.

All that said, I broke a personal rule and saw The Avengers in theater rather than waiting for the video, and despite everything was glad I did.

BTW, have you ever *seen* a camcorder capture? I think the only reason anyone would waste their time watching that was out of the delight of doing something forbidden. It's a crappy experience, not worthwhile even for free.

Re:Why I go to the Cinema (4, Funny)

mjr167 (2477430) | about 2 years ago | (#39931177)

I have a a small child I would be willing to rent out. She would be quite happy to throw popcorn at you and ask silly questions randomly during key dialog.

Not News (5, Interesting)

mcmonkey (96054) | about 2 years ago | (#39930973)

We saw this 10 year ago with "The Eminem Show". That album was everywhere online before it went on sale. It was like a virus--it was hard to be online during the Spring of 2002 and NOT download a copy.

Then it was released, debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts, sold over 1 million copies the first week, and was the best selling album of 2002.

I guess a story like this is good as another example to drive the point home. But really, not news.

No shit! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39930983)

Pirates are not a lost sale! You were NEVER going to get their money for so many reasons.

Not the least of which is the MPAA keeps PISSING PAYING CUSTOMERS OFF!

Stop being tools. Stop pissing your customers off. Stop with the regional release bullshit. Stop trying to keep control of how, when and where we watch a movie.

Fuck you guys are morons. You'd think.. THINK... that with all the money you piss away and steal every year.. you could at least HIRE someone with a clue.

But no. keep blundering around like a drunk moron and wonder why people pirate.

A friend unable to leave bed... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39930989)

..because of cancer was the reason we got the torrented copy. She was able to watch while we were at the theater, so it was almost like she went with us. She in NO way would count as a lost ticket sale, and I expect this wasn't a unique occurance.

Steed and Peel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39931005)

I don't get it - I went to see John Steed and Emma Peel and instead found these cartoon characters. I was ripped off. Doesn't anyone care?

the gun is good! (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 2 years ago | (#39931131)

You didn't feel abused by this [imdb.com]?

I'd much rather watch Sean Connery in a red hooker outfit and slut boots than in a kilt any day!

The Avengers is a bad movie to pirate (0)

Nova Express (100383) | about 2 years ago | (#39931047)

While the MPAA is wrong, this article is a bit of a strawman. The Avengers being a a big-budget, special effects laden film, is the sort of film seen best in a movie theater. And obviously it's all-but-impossible to replicate the 3D experience with a pirate copy (whether you like 3D or not). A smaller, quieter independent film, something that doesn't lose much by being seen on TV, might suffer more from pirating.

FWIW, I liked The Avengers the best of any live-action superhero film I've seen [locusmag.com]. Granted, the half-naked Scarlett Johansson [lawrenceperson.com] didn't hurt...

Annoying title (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#39931071)

Ok, I understand where the poster was coming from, and (s)he is right, but I have to vote "Why Pirates Failed To Prevent a Box Office Record" as the most annoying article title for 2012, so far.

IMAX (1)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#39931093)

Disney/Marvel made a big effort to get "Avengers" on almost every available IMAX screen. In 3D, even. With five audio channels and subwoofers the size of a minivan. A camcorder version, overcompressed for BitTorrent, is no more than a thumbnail of that.

Reminds me of that Episode of the Critic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39931095)

Turns out if you make a movie that's watchable, and not complete garbage, people will come to watch it.

Granted, it's no timeless masterpiece but it's good entertainment and an appropriate adaptation to the format. It's amazing how far "not crap" can go. (Looking at you, Uwe Bole)

Concert to movie comparison kind of sketchy... (2)

synth7 (311220) | about 2 years ago | (#39931097)

In my town of less that 100K people I can easily see any movie in glorious Doubly (it's in Doubly!) Digital THX brain-surround. No problem. However, most larger musicians don't play a date anywhere near me. So comparing lost movie revenue due to digital piracy to lost concert revenue due to pirated music is a specious argument. They really aren't parallel, except in the loosest thinking.

true: Not all American pirates count as lost sale (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39931109)

This is a very true statement that not all american pirates count as a lost sale. Many of them already saw the movie, liked it, then downloaded it so they could have a shitty quality copy of the movie to possibly watch before the Blu Ray or DVD comes out, at which time they could buy it. I wonder how many of these "pirates" ONLY watch their pirated copy and spend absolutely no money on it.

Look, it's a big screen movie. That's why (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about 2 years ago | (#39931119)

It's not going to translate to my tablet particularly well. I want that big screen, big sound experience. A recorded pirate version, even plugged into my wall TV's HDMI isn't going to cut it.

Now, if it was one of those indie movies, top-heavy with facial expression reaction shots, written by an film major, about self-obsessed pseudo-intellectuals obsessing about how they feel about some petty personal circumstance so banal, trivial and uninteresting that they could bore a rhino to sleep at 10 paces, yeah, I'd probably torrent it, assuming my girlfriend nagged me enough.

This is a false dichotomy (5, Insightful)

nanotech (34819) | about 2 years ago | (#39931129)

I didn't bother to read the article obviously, but to compare opening weekend results directly with CAM downloads ignores many aspects. The most obvious to me is the people who did NOT go out to the theatre and who WILL NOT download the CAM, but who WILL wait two months for a high-quality free Blu-Ray rip to appear online. These are potentially lost sales for the theatres.

(Having said that, after going back to a theatre for the first time in a couple years specifically to see Avengers, I still believe the root of their problem does not lie with piracy, it lies with the appalling rudeness found in your average public gathering. For the same price, two months later, my living room is infinitely more comfortable and better equipped to show ME the movie in a manner I will enjoy and not be distracted by phones, screaming children, and poor sound).

If we're talking camcorder copies (1)

vawwyakr (1992390) | about 2 years ago | (#39931139)

Then I doubt not only that it had an impact I doubt the 100k figure as well. I bet it was more like 10k people trying to download it 10 different times from different sources looking for something other than a crappy camcorder download.

Piracy is a farce (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39931145)

Downloading something does not preclude one from paying from it. The two are not mutually exclusive

Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39931173)

It makes sense, but I expect the Avengers is an exception to any trends

You see, in my country piracy is common. And I don't mean the torrent style piracy. I mean the kind where you go down to the corner and buy a pirate DVD before it comes out on theaters. About $1 to $3 a DVD. A bit more on blue ray and they tend to be older movies.

Everyone I know will regularly go out and buy a couple movies to watch on the weekends with the whole family. But, and here is the important part for this discussion: Many people avoid doing this with the latest big special effect movies because it simply doesn't look as good on a camcorder recording

Iron lady? Buy a pirate DVD. Avengers? Go see it if you can afford it. It's 10x the cost but 3 or 4 times a year it's ok

Who thought this story about (1)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#39931223)

The fact that Pirates: Band of Misfits isn't doing better than yet another unoriginal sequel pulled out someone's anus.

I mean, I am going to see Avengers, but in no way expect to be of the caliber of creativity and technical caliber of Pirates. Plus, it is very unlikely that Avengers is going to have a reference to Are you being served a certain pussy belonging to a certain randomly colored hair lady.

Everyone always complain about the long line of sequels and regurgitated ideas we must endure, but seriously, look at what brings in the money?

Pirating what you would pay for (1)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | about 2 years ago | (#39931243)

IMHO, there are very few people who pirate things they would be willing to pay for if there was no pirated copy. Every movie I really want to see in a theater I go to see in a theater. There are plenty of movies I would never see in a theater but I have some mild interest in, and those I torrent. Some of those end up being great because my impression was wrong, and I occasionally end up going to see it a second time in a theater! In other words, my pirating never loses anyone money, and occasionally helps them gain money. I think that's the same for most people. (On a related topic, what kind of idiot pays $5 to rent a movie when you can get a vastly better experience for $8 at a theater? I can understand how torrenting DVD rips might hurt DVD sales and rentals, but personally I would never rent DVDs so I'm not causing them to lose money there either.)

Oblig Wikipedia edit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39931267)

While some are baffled to see that piracy failed to crush the movie's profits [who?]

Good movies, sure (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | about 2 years ago | (#39931271)

Piracy of movies impact the normal crap hollywood spits out, but has little impact on the good stuff. It's kind of like advance word of mouth.

To put it another way, it's advanced "word of mouth". Following this, I'm certain we would find that piracy will demolish first day sales, but subsequent days wouldn't be impacted.

Hollywood is just upset that they lose out on the first day sales on crap movies.

Harm is Harm, and Piracy is Wrong (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39931337)

You just showed that in the best case scenario, Avengers is out over $1,000,000. I'm sorry that that is chump change to you guys, but when you've invested 250,000,000 in a product, and actually a multiple of that after marketing, distribution, gross points, overhead, financing, etc, every penny counts. Just because an opening sets a record, does not mean it is the appropriate opening for the movie — the movie is pretty good, perhaps the record opening should have been even higher. This also neglects the simple fact that as ticket prices rise with inflation, openings will ever progress higher, regardless of attendance and that during difficult economic times, cheap entertainment like the Avengers should experience record popularity to begin with. Its frankly not relevant how much money the movie made, if it should've made more, then it should've made more.

Additionally, counting only BitTorrent sites ignores the numerous streaming sites it has been available on for over a week, as well as many other forms of piracy. I would wager that the true cost of piracy to that movie so far has been 10-20mm, potentially even an order of magnitude more, but even if it were not, to post such an obvious straw man as though it has any relevance or logical validity as a claim is ridiculous. Just because something is difficult to measure, does not mean it is not definitively damaging.

Finally, while not all pirated views represent a lost full-price admission ticket sale, they most certainly do represent a non-zero form of lost revenue. I do not believe that a person willing to BitTorrent a CAM, or stream the movie, would be unwilling to sit through a few commercials, pay a few dollars on-demand, or watch it on Netflix or traditional television once it was available in those formats. By watching it through an unlicensed, and unmonetized channel, they are reducing the lifetime revenue generating views of the film by 1; what the exact amount of that revenue is, is irrelevant — harm is done.

We all love sharing, right? And we all hate leechers? — well guess what. Pirates, are the leechers — they are those who accept the gifts of content creators to society, without giving back anything in return. Piracy is fundamentally wrong; it is antisocial, it is illegal, and it is fundamentally damaging to the core beliefs and values of our society. We have a civic responsibility to respect the works of our fellow men and compensate them fairly for our use of them, not ransack their store because they are too feeble to defend their wares.

I am disgusted by the pro-piracy bent on this message board, and would ask those to consider what happens to a resource scarce society, when we stop having respect for the works of others.

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