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Online Movie Piracy: Sorted, no problem

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Mark Kermode | 16:00 UK time, Friday, 24 April 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is one side of the coin, Brit indie horrorfest Mum and Dad another, and Monsters versus Aliens is yet another (because it's a 3d coin). But who is really to blame for online movie piracy? Allow me to explain...

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Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Thank god, someone has finally understood it. Dr K, you truly are an enlightened fellow.

    For years I have listened to the overinflated gasbags from within the industry harp on about their artistic integrity and how the cinema is the place they want people to see their movies (a point which fades away quickly when the movie makes double on DVD than it did on the big screen; mainly due to an insistence by studios to release every movie in at least 12 different formats and editions). I think for too long there has been a impression that I should be feeling blessed to be given the honour to see the latest Hollywood claptrap so I should just pay and sit with a feeling of awe that I am being allowed to view the movie on an approved format and time-scale.

    The real problem is that I can't see a studio willing to take the risk. I remember a few years ago there was a big clash when Fox released Night at the Museum on DVD 12 weeks after the cinema release which was a breach of a gentleman's agreement about the gap between releases. Most studios will be afraid of the multiplexes shunning them if they launched everywhere and they are still afraid of the stigma of a straight to DVD release (quite justified if you sat through the recent Resident Evil Degeneration DVD) so they just wont take the leap.

    The entire industry needs to change IMO. Cinemas need to be making their product worth the money they charge and studios need to be considering if they can afford to spend a few hundred million on a movie when they cannot count on repeat business (I read somewhere that about 60% of people who see a movie in the theatre will buy or rent it on DVD later).

    I personally love the idea (of mine) that those who see a film in cinemas should be able to send off their ticket to get a discount on the DVD or at least get it a week or 2 before everyone else straight from the distributor.

  • Comment number 2.

    I think in some ways (although they would never admit it) that studios like a level of internet pirating.

    Word of mouth has always been the greatest marketing tool for the industry and people who I know who download movies, movies that as Dr.K points out aren't recorded in the cinema but are in-house DVD screeners, tell the rest of their friends how good that movie is. That leads to people going to see it at the cinema or to buying it on DVD.

    In addition most of the people who I know who download movies tend to buy them on DVD when they come out anyway, that is if the movie was any good.

    So it all really comes down to the quality of the product. Make a good movie, we'll download it illegally, check it out, if its good we'll go and see it at the cinema with friends and buy it when it comes out on DVD. Make a movie as good as Wolverine and don't expect much in return.

  • Comment number 3.

    Well Well Mark, you certainly are putting your back into editing your blog videos now aren't you. Am i to expect these shown in 3D soon?
    You know the music industry has used the online downloading methods of getting hold of music to their advantage in tackling piracy (even if it isn't working), i think sooner or later this may happen for films too. Just imagine what would happen to the cinemas if this was to go forward, but now you mention piracy the thought seems so much more convincing...
    I know for a fact films are pirated at their earliest (in most cases) from cinema recordings, yet alot of the time they are leaked from the DVD production companies themselves (usually Russian / Asian copies). But at the end of the day we still don't know where many of them even come from, which goes to show just how well we are doing in this little battle. It seems only inevitable that it will take the route music is though.
    I have to admit though i am not too fussed about Wolverine being leaked. The issue itself is aggravating, i am expecting this certain title only to dilute such an incidents seriousness.
    I have to say too, i didn't like Mum and Dad that much really and thought in all the areas in which it was praised it had been overrated. It was certainly a respectable horror title, but is gaining a little cult status/underground fame as being somewhat of a shocker, yet i found it almost monotonous at times. The whole steal and torture routine seemed a little dreary, if not dire, and erased what good there was to come of this film for me. I don't know weather this was because i had watched many films like this beforehand (i was mid-horror marathon). i may re-watch it after being deadly disappointed with a film, like i WASN'T after Watchmen, and WAS with the god-awful Twilight. You don't have to be too much younger than yourself, Dr, to understand just what brings Twilight to the standard of Bride Wars for me... It is cinema's latest bombing by pop-cultures finest gold-digging, overly-contemporary and dreadfully pedestrian piece of garbage yet. I would of weeped at how uninspired and tedious it was if that was not what the film set out to do at times, such an act would of tortured my dignity beyond repair....

  • Comment number 4.

    hey dr. k! what's the deal with the zany editting? i hate it, don't do it again.

  • Comment number 5.

    Dr K,
    spot-on with the piracy comments; most pirate films are (like MannyCal says) awards screeners or DVD-rips - actual cam copies (or buttcam copies as they are also known, due to the fact that they look so bad there can only be one place the guy hid his camera) are only one part of the piratical picture.

    The distribution model that the studios operate for their films (including the artificial regional structure of DVDs) is designed for their benefit, not ours, so I can't say I have much sympathy for their 'predicament'.

    Plenty of pirate viewings are of films that people wouldn't pay to see in a cinema anyway - in many cases illegal downloading is the speeded-up equivalent of waiting for a film to come on TV. And no, I don't think that's an argument that's going to persuade a studio to change it's policy, but I would say it's an illustration of the fact that the film-viewing public isn't one amorphous passively consuming organo-blob, but a rather more complex and diverse beast.

  • Comment number 6.

    I was curious as to your opinion (being a medical man as you are, Dr K) on the quality difference between InTru3D and RealD? Having seen both formats (the former in Monsters VS Aliens, the latter with Bolt) I really did find the RealD experience both more exciting and also easier to get lost in (InTru3D sadly feeling like stage hands placing props in front of the screen)

    NB: As an already enormous Gregory's Girl fan, your Local Hero piece turned me on to watching, what I must admit was and still is, a truly beautiful film. Does this film still stand outside your top 10 [ http://www.thescreendirectory.com/cat4/top_tens.php?c=70 ] or has your opinion since changed?

    ---

    P.S. Tommus-Jay, I believe the editing was to represent bad quality pirate copies of films. As seen on those God-awful "You wouldn't steal a handbag" advert on every non-Special Edition DVD these days

  • Comment number 7.

    Spot on Dr K. I would love for cinemas to have more people who want to actually watch a film and less people determined to talk their way through them.

    I think multi-platform releases could also pave the way for more screenings of older films. I recently went to screenings of Ghostbusters and Aliens (on separate occasions, not a Sigourney Weaver double bill), both of which I enjoyed immensely. I had seen them both before of course but, being 21, I was not yet alive for their original releases and so never had the opportunity to see them on the big screen.

    Given the number of cinema goers in the same position, surely these kind of screenings could become a regular occurrence? And, given that everyone already knows whether the films are any good or not, there's no risk of accidentally going to a screening of a truly terrible film.

  • Comment number 8.

    1000% right. Don't you love it when someone hits the nail on the head. I have been saying this for ages.

    I also think everyone in the whole pirating debate is missing the elephant in the room. A large reason in my opinion why piracy is up is because cinemas have come too expensive, self interested and too lazy in combating anti-social behaviour.

    Pirating is wrong, no question about it. But my cinema is one of the three chains that dominate the UK cinemas. Here's whats the deal is in mine

    * charges 8 quid a ticket (8.50 if you pre-book due to handling fee)

    * Now refuses to let you bring in your own food

    * Now shows a ridiculous 30 mins worth of trailers/ads before a film

    * has scrapped the 'off-peak' admission fee it used to have. You used to be able to see a film cheaper if you went on a weekday morning/afternoon

    The simple fact is people don't want to spend 8 quid on seeing a movie with irritating kids loudly talking and not being dealt with....and having their can of coke from the newsagents taken off them as if it were an illegal substance.

    If cinema prices were a tad more reasnoble, and cinemas advertised/enforced that anto-social behaviour will not be tolerated....I am convinced many people would scrap the downloading in favour of the real deal.

    If you change it....they will come!

  • Comment number 9.

    Dearest Mark,

    Slightly off topic, or rather, at the other end of the spectrum is a small issue of DVD availability. Not that it's ever been a huge issue for me in the past; it's just that I have been trying to get hold of a copy of William Friedkin's 'The Guardian' [1990], which I only saw once on the BBC when I was a little junior and, apart from a copy advertised for £74(!), I cannot find it anywhere. Is there any special reason for this excruciating elusiveness and criminal overpricing? Have I not been looking hard enough? Do you know where i may get my hands on a (cheaper) copy?

    Keep up the great work.

    With love and anticipation...

  • Comment number 10.

    I'm actually pretty sure that a lot of movie pirates (not the Johnny Depp kind) are quite smart folk and I'm predicting that about two weeks after the 3-D Avatar is released at the end of this year, it will be pirated online (at least in 2-D, but I'm not sure how it'll look, or works). I'm beginning to think that this whole 3-D idea will just end up being sunk by the pirates (not literally), which will bring the movie companies back to the drawing board.
    I agree with you completely Dr K. Although it is expensive for cinemas to install 3-D projectors, it is a cost they must pay, not us. But I don't think they'll bring down the cost anyway, since people will most likely pay more to see in 3-D anyway. I'm sure companies will convince consumers to pay more to see in 3-D during this economic time, because they want them to pay more, and the over-use of the word "immersion" makes it sound much more pleasing to the folk who want to get out of the "depression".

  • Comment number 11.

    Part of the problem is cinemas. Some cinemas (I'm looking at Odeon here) are ludicriously over-priced (I once paid £8 to see King Arthur in a barely 100-seat screen to watch it on a screen the size of a medium widescreen TV - appalling!) and don't have any quality control at all. I've heard countless reports of poorly-maintained Odeons, and given they are the most expensive cinema chain in the UK, that's no acceptible.

    The idiots on mobiles is another thing cinemas need to sort out. Where are my ushers?

    That said, I will say my local Swindon Cineworld is perfect during the afternoons. Well-maintained, great sound and picture, lovely seats with loads of leg room. Hell, they even have ushers! Lovely, lovely stuff. If only all cinemas were like that, then maybe people would come to the cinema and watch the films in the cinema because allowing stupid people run amuck and poor-quality cinemas to go on just ruins it. You can see why people stay at home.

  • Comment number 12.

    Here's a conspiracy theory for you.
    They leak the eagerly anticipated yet disappointing film Wolverine on purpose. It not only plumps up a fan base and notoriety for the film (it's the film to watch illegally, if you haven't seen it you're out the loop); but also, as a film that would have done badly anyway, they may have been willing to sacrifice it to prove how 'something must be done about piracy'. If only Wolverine had been in 3D they'll cry.

    Worth remembering. You make a pig in 3D, but it's still a pig...

  • Comment number 13.

    Dear Mr Kermode,

    Thank you! Its great to hear a respected figure within the film industry such as yourself making these arguments. Im actually a politics student and I wrote my final year thesis on how the UK is dealing with the issue of file-sharing/piracy and I came up with much the same conclusions as yourself i.e. the content industries have got to respond to what the consumer wants, start innovating and stop taking the route of litigation. The sad thing is that this a very one-sided debate at the decision-making level in that the film and music industry lobbyists are very powerful whilst the consumer rights groups are few and far between. For anyone who's interested the Open Rights Group are doing great things in the UK - in fact their patron is Neil Gaiman.
    My hope is that more effort will be put into the emerging deals between content providers and ISPs so that eventually consumers can pay an added amount to their monthly subscription for legal access to genuine quality films and music. If, as the BPI estimates, at least 10% of the UK population engages in file-sharing, its because thats how they want access to content! The industry needs to get with the times and deliver.

  • Comment number 14.

    Good morrow, Doctor. I've just this week been introduced to your blog by a friend of mine.

    Your comments about 3D being an ill-conceived swindle are as true as they come. But it's not these comments precisely that have motivated me to reply.

    I am something of an anomaly - I'm a film-lover who hates going to the cinema. To explain:

    I *hate* paying four thousand pounds for a bucket of bad cola, I *hate* being pummelled with adverts for up to half an hour before watching what I *paid* to watch, and I absolutely, with every fibre of my being (both mortal *and* undying), DETEST the morons I'm forced to share an auditorium with. The relentless talking, the chewing, the *smoking*, even...!

    I remember the first time I thought to myself, "I'd rather be watching this at home" - it was back in 2003, watching Lost in Translation at my then-local UGC. A dreadful youth sitting behind me had taken his equally cerebral girlfriend to see the film with, clearly, no idea what it was about. When I heard him near-shout, at the beginning of the movie, "How come Chinese people are so [!]ing small...?!", I realised I was going to have to see the film again to stand any chance of enjoying it.

    So, I ordered a Region 1 DVD copy the following day, which arrived two weeks later, and I enjoyed the experience so, so much more that I had a sneaking suspicion this would be the shape of things to come. In summer 2006 I dropped six-hundred quid on a gorgeous TV, and that was pretty much that. I’d say I’ve been to the cinema twice, maybe three times since. Almost everything I watch on DVD or Blu-ray, six months or so after-the-fact, in my bedroom with a couple of friends and a dozen cold beers between us. Sure, we may not get the "mass effect" of a packed auditorium, but we still have a shared experience that we can discuss between ourselves when the film is over.

    I don't see anything bringing me back to the cinema, next to eugenics. Certainly not 3D...

  • Comment number 15.

    If my local cinema is not showing a film I want to see (due to poor distribution) I buy a ticket at a cinema that is, and then download the film from the internet.

    Poor distribution drives me to piracy and 3D cannot do anything about that. Example: Pixars next film "Up" is coming out in the UK 5 months after it's release in the US. So by the time it comes to market the film in this country not only will the DVD be available to import (for not much more money than a single ticket) but high quality files of said dvd will be available to download for free from the internet for the less scrupulous. The release of "Up" is quite pertinent given that it is Pixar's first film to be made in 3D, yet any incentive to make an effort to watch it that way in a cinema is offset by the afforementioned availability of an imported DVD. It's not like it's a different compnay distributing - as far as I know Disney BVHV is Disney BVHV.

    P.S. Teen Wolf is a great film. Certainly the best werewolf basketball movie ever made.

  • Comment number 16.

    Very true, Mark - leaks come from within the industry and proven by Wolverine(which is a disappointing mess, anyway).

    If they cater to demand, then the pirates wouldn't be getting as much money.

    But no, they choose to act as if people only want 2 options, so that's why piracy thrives.

  • Comment number 17.

    I'm sorry but you cannot distance critics from any blame when it comes to piracy matters.

    Screeners sent to critics are one of *the* biggest sources for decent quality, illegal versions of films, which flood the 'scene' especially around awards season.

    Another problem which was not addressed, is the (admitedly much worse at one time) problem of big block busters (or even small, indie flicks) having staggered releases around the world.

    Last years excellent 'The Mist' is a recent example. I bought the US DVD before the film even hit UK cinemas. That is shocking, and had to impact on how poorly it faired at the UK box-office, for both piratical and logisitcal reasons.

    All that aside, the internet is really to blame, as it brings together the piracy scene in a way that makes it completely unmanageable. It's a global issue and not policeable.

    That said, tighter controls of copies sent out for reviewing purposes to CRITICS like you Dr K would help.

  • Comment number 18.

    gee 1977 - what kind of control do you propose? I have software on my PC that allows me to rip a DVD in less than half an hour. I don't use it for piracy - I use it for backing up my discs, so that I don't need to buy them again when they break (can you believe I've bought The Straight Story *three* times...?!).

    My point being, DVD piracy is so, so easy that there's really no way to control the dissemination of Screeners. Next to stopping them completely, of course.

  • Comment number 19.

    They take your phone?! How ridiculous! When I have a cinema night with my mum they ask to check her bag and she steadfastly refuses. They always tell her "In that case, we'll have to keep a closer eye on you". Nice.

    I also sometimes carry a dvd camera around with me, and don't want to be made to give it up at the door of a cinema. Smokers are allowed to take their lighters into pubs - doesn't mean they're going to use them!

  • Comment number 20.

    Just had another thought, reading about the guy who has a tiny camera in his false eye today.
    Would they insist he removed his eye in screenings? And, because it would be behind one lens of the 3D glasses couldn't he film even 3D films (albeit in 2D and slightly to the right of everything) thus destroying the anti-piracy aspect?

    To beat that I guess they'd have to make films dependent on their 3Dness. The zombie only seen by the left eye, as something is obscuring the right... looking through a keyhole say, or from behind a column. Then a decapitated head hitting a wall only seen by the left later.

    And thinking some more... could we not arrange a protest by one-eyed people outside every cinema, as they can't watch 3D films. Dressing as a pirate would be optional.

  • Comment number 21.

    You're absolutely right. I lived in China for a number of years, where pirated movies are everywhere. On average 20 foreign films are shown in cinemas in China, most of which are censored. I see their system as an interesting blueprint for what will eventually happen in Europe and the US.

    People in China view piracy as an act of freedom, rebellion and as a demonstration to see content that is otherwise not permitted to them.

    Also, pirated movies cost what a movie should cost, (about the price of an average meal) where the occasional films that come to the cinema in China will cost an average week's earnings. Imagine paying quadruple what you currently do to see a film?

    As cinema visits get to be more expensive, independent films and foreign films are less distributed and censor boards make idiotic decisions, piracy should and will continue.

  • Comment number 22.

    Anyone unsure about 3D needs to see Coraline. It's the first 3D film i've seen where you get a real sense of a 'window onto the scene' that James Cameron has been on about. Everything takes place behind the screen and you no longer have the strange 'people sticking out of the frame' effect that Bolt and Monsters had.
    The main problem with piracy is simply - people don't want to pay money for things. It doesn't matter if there was a same day release for cinema/dvd/download. Within a couple of hours it'd still be on the pirate bay to download for free.

  • Comment number 23.

    dh2005: (this board needs a 'quote function') I propose some kind of digital watermarking, which is very easy to implement, identifying just which critic, or intended target of the screener, the leak has come from.

    This would allow studios to quickly impose sanctions on said party, which could range from them stopping sending out said discs in the future, to prosecution for copyright infringements.

    You will never get anywhere using copy-protection methods, as you point out yourself, as any device invented can by it's own definition be circumvented.

  • Comment number 24.

    Not only is the industry looking at the problem from the wrong angle, so is the legal system. People who download films are consumers, not criminals; the peer-to-peer system is a data distribution system, not a black market.

    In a recent survey of film watchers in the very techno-savvy South Korea, almost 50% admitted downloading films. That is a *huge* potential customer base.

    The industry needs to do several things to fix the problem:

    1. Stop spending so much on advertising
    2. Stop spending so much on special effects
    3. Do multi-format worldwide releases (as with Mum & Dad)
    4. Form a subscription based peer-to-peer system.

  • Comment number 25.

    I remember a couple of years back getting my dictaphone taken off me before a press screening of Kinky Boots, lest I record the audio track and act the movie out for people.

    Just the other day it was reported that research showed the people most likely to download music illegally were also the people most likely to download it legally; the anti-piracy campaign seems based on the idea that these can't be the same people. But most people aren't either good little consumers or pirates; most people who download movies or music illegally will also generally have large collections of DVDS and legally purchased music, and will continue to pay for these things even with the option to get them for free over the internet. Punishing people for it or, worse, actually making examples of people for it as a way to scare people won't work and is an unrealistic and naive response to what the internet allows. Dodgy websites offering free movies aren't going to go away; iTunes realised this and offered a legitimate and highly successful alternative, so why haven't the studios in Hollywood followed suit?

  • Comment number 26.

    The voice of reason!! Thank you.

  • Comment number 27.

    fortunesfool73 - I don't think the 'people don't want to pay money' comment is completely true.

    People want to pay what they think something is worth - and they want to choose how they receive what they pay for.

    I no longer have to download pirated music because Amazon has made it super cheap and easy for me to get instant, DRM-free mp3s. That's what I wanted in the first place.

    If people don't want to pay up to 15 quid to see a film and would rather get it instantly at home to watch on their big flat screen tv at a fraction of the price, they would quite possibly do that rather than download a dodgy pirate copy. That's just my personal view though, but the statistics would make an interesting study.

    I think that's the saddest thing about the Pirate Bay case - too quick to prosecute one pirate organisation which is, in the long run, fairly useless, rather than addressing the causes of piracy - as Dr K says, lack of consumer choice.

  • Comment number 28.

    gee 1977 (yes, it does...!);

    Sure, I take your point about that. But just as watermarking would be easy to implement, it would be almost as easy to circumvent.

    I use a wonderful program, which shall remain nameless (not because it's illegal, but because I don't want to shamelessly plug something), to decrypt the protection on my DVDs, and another one to strip out all the extraneous material on the disc. It can remove trailers, menus, special features, audio tracks, subtitle tracks... the lot. When it's scanned a disc it draws a table on the left hand side of the screen, accounting for every piece of data in the directory structure. Any watermark would show up as a video file that could be viewed in a preview window, then stripped off when the disc was ripped. Gone. Like it never existed.

    Don't get me wrong - your idea is a sound one. But DVD is more than a decade old, now. Software engineers have learned down the years to pick it to pieces. The only way that studios can "prevent" (and I use that word loosely...) DVD piracy is to improve the encryption systems that need to be cracked before the directory structure can be exposed. But as soon as new encryption systems are released, they get reverse-engineered - perhaps not "as soon as", but certainly within a couple of weeks. All the studios are doing, here, is playing into the hands of the software company that program the decryption software, which costs £90 for a lifetime subscription. These programmers absolutely *love* DVD encryption, I'm sure - they're millionaires, because of it.

    So, all a person need do is perform a little bit of internet research, stump up the £90, and they'd never need to buy a DVD ever again. I stress, this is NOT what I use my setup for - I consider piracy highly irresponsible. But I *could*, if I wanted to... and that's a problem that the industry needs to get wise to.

    In a way, they've already begun to do so. DVD prices are much, much more sensible these days than they were five years ago - I was in Sainsbury's the other week, and saw that they were selling all the pre-Craig Bond films for £2.99 each. Sure, it's not Blu-ray, but whack them into a decent upscaling DVD player, and they look like a million dollars. And at *that* price, who can be bothered with piracy...?!

    More wisdom along these lines is needed.

  • Comment number 29.

    dh2005: By watermarking, I didn't mean to imply a physical feature of the disk, but implementing a watermark directly on the video track itself.

    A similar system was brought in to prevent the spread of 'telecine' bootlegs, where someone who has access to the projectionists booth can connect a PC or other recording device directly to the projector, and run off excellent copies of current cinematic releases.

    To counter this a project called "CAP" or 'Coded Anti-Piracy' was brought in, which takes the form of digitally marking copies of films sent to cinemas, in slightly different ways, via multi-dot patterns in a few frames of the actual film, in a pattern unique to each theatre.

    This enables distributors to recognise where bootlegs that end up in the hands of pirates originated from and take action.

    I proposed a similar idea above - it would be impossible to remove via software as it makes up a section of the video, unless the bootlegger breaks into each individual frame to remove the code, which would be painstaking in the very extreme.

  • Comment number 30.

    gee 1977;

    Yeah, after I posted yesterday I wondered in retrospect whether that was what you meant.

    I don't know precisely how that's done, but I'm sure a program could be "trained" to recognise the incriminating data and remove it. After all, if a program put it IN, that program can be reverse-engineered and the code inverted to take it OUT. Granted, it'd be a faff... but let's not neglect exactly how *determined* the online community is to distribute this material.

    Consider the so-called "torrent" sites. Here you'll find people, for no commercial gain whatsoever, posting HD rips taken from Blu-ray discs that they've very probably bought themselves. They're just GIVING THEM AWAY!!! In a (some would say misguided) spirit of 'communuity', they're sharing what they've got because they've benefited from other people's contributions in the past. The industry likes to think it's going to win this war, but it really isn't for as long as people can usurp their agenda entirely through simple generosity.

    As a matter of fact, the industry thinks itself far, far too clever in general - you're making movies, fellas; not curing cancer.

    An illustration of how they continually underrate the resourcefulness of the pirates: a protection system for Blu-ray discs (BD+) was introduced in June 2007 that the head of Sony bragged would "take ten years to crack". Four months later, busted. Who are you *kidding*, pal? "ten years"?! WHAT an idiot...! Any man who brags as to his invincibility is just BEGGING to be shot down.

    Anyway, I digress...

    Bottom line: the community is Hell-bent on pirating this material. And where there's a will, there's a way...

  • Comment number 31.

    deftonic , as this is all about piracy you could always download a DVDrip of The Guardian from Isohunt for absolutely no pence!

  • Comment number 32.

    Phew - lots of comments here, but nothing about all that poking at the lens in plain old 2D.

    Can't wait for the technology for you to cbring us DrK in fabulous Rant-o-rama

  • Comment number 33.

    Making movies available to download is an obvious solution, but it would not help flailing cinema attendance, it would certainly help combat DVD piracy though. Most people make a decision long before a movie comes out whether to see in cinema, on DVD or download - an outing at the cinema for two costing more than a DVD, this is a serious decision. Once you have already decided that a film is not worth seeing in the cinema, you have little incentive to shell out 15pounds for a new DVD when you can download a high quality copy the next day (often before it hits cinemas in Europe). Especially considering that these days the promotion of a movie starts years before it actually gets to the screen: whip people up into a frenzy then be astounded that they literally can't wait for the release.

    Want people to go into movie theatres? 1. MAKE FILMS THAT AUDIENCES WANT TO SEE, enough remakes, reboots, prequels and sequels. 2. release within the week worldwide 3. cheaper cinema tickets, nicer cinemas. Want less people downloading for free (and you will never be able to stop all of them, live with it)? Release DVDs sooner and make them available to download. The reality is that people 19-45 don't really buy DVDs anymore to see something for the first time (unless it's obscure world cinema that wouldn't be released in the UK/USA), they only buy it for their collection.

  • Comment number 34.

    I'm sorry to go on for so long, but I would like to add to this point of immediacy, and the Good Doctors point that the industry should pay more attention of what their consumers want. In this age of unlimited information people hear about something that interests them they won't go to the library to find out more, because they can find it on Wikipedia immediately. Hear a song in an advert you like, you can download it within minutes form iTunes. It is madness to expect that one hears of an interesting movie and they'll make a note, wait 3-6 months then schlepp down to HMV.

  • Comment number 35.

    The last film I saw in 3D was "Journey To The Center of the Earth".
    And I hope it was; I'd like to think so.
    But it's not the last time I saw "Journey To the Center of the Earth" at the cinema.
    That was at the weekend at a local vintage cinema that is being restored to its former 1929 glory. It was the 1959 version in 2D starring James Mason, Pat Boone and Arlene Dahl. Arlene Dahl was there to talk about the film afterwards. I have to say it was probably a better film than the most recent version and certainly a more enjoyable experience watching it on one of the biggest screens in the country (US). The same weekend I also saw the only existing 35mm print of "The Lion in Winter". This time the film's director, Anthony Harvey was there to talk about it afterwards. There is also a magnificent restored cinema organ with expert players to entertain us before the film starts and in any intervals and of course there are no adverts and cost of admission ($7) is half the price of a 3D film in Manhattan. We get treats like this about two or three times a month but there is no way, for me, that modern 3D films can compete with anything like that!

  • Comment number 36.

    INTERESTING FILM: The Fall.
    i cant help but notice you never reviewed the film "The Fall" (not to my knowlage anyway) but i am interesed in you thoughts on the film becouse it made a delibereate point of not using CGI and visual computer wizzardry, which can sometimes be appaulingly bad. With the names David Fincher and Spike Jonze i thought you would be interested.
    P.S. 3D is Wrong they tried to change it before and it didnt work.

  • Comment number 37.

    Hi Mark,


    Just very briefly: well done. You hit the nail on the head. The analogy with the music industry is completely justified.

    Corporate culture fails us yet again, I'm afraid.

    Thanks.

  • Comment number 38.

    I fail to see how 3d projection could ever counter in cinema piracy, especially given the fact that the cinema goer is provided with the decryption method.

    Isn't it just a case of attaching the filter that woud normally cover your eye to the camera? I do agree with HrolfKraki that it would probably require the actual content of the film being entirely dependant on 3d vision, but wouldn't that introduce issues with post release distribution? and surely bringing two cameras would enable the pirate to capture both streams, in effect allowing them to post-process it down anyway?

  • Comment number 39.

    I'm considering this topic to debate in my dissertation for my final year in Media Practice. I have to say however this video is hard to watch. From my point of view I like how it is informative and I often agree with the Dr however this clip is made unwatchable due to those incredibly annoying and seemingly random cuts to what I know as a filter used in Final Cut Pro called Bad TV which makes media look as though its being played from a broken television. Obviously this is to exemplify the look of pirated footage but I find it hard to follow what Dr Kermode is talking about. From an editors point of view its really, really irritating.

    That said I'm very interested in the topic of online piracy and if anyone can recommend any literature or sources of information worth looking into this would very much help me in my research for my dissertation. Much appreciated.

 

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