I have only ever watched one cam recording of a movie before. I think it was 'The Illusionist.' I was at a friends house, he slapped it on. The color saturation was wrong, the sound was like mono and the camera appeared slightly off so the very top or bottom of the screen was cut off. It wasn't completely unwatchable but it spoiled the movie. Its like watching a film through a neighbours window.. crap.
Piracy has far more effect on DVD sales. This is for 4 reasons. The price of DVD's, the inconvenience of going out and getting the DVD, the bullshit adverts and unskipable junk before the film and the menu which takes 20 seconds to display before you can press PLAY.
If there was a DVD quality recording of the avengers I think it would have easily had 5x more downloads, probably 10x. However, realistically the cinema is an experience. If you enjoy the cinema you are going to watch a film like this at the cinema - then maybe download it. I am firmly of the opinion that if you make a blockbuster film, whether it leaks or not it will do well.
That may or may not kill the cinemas in the long term, depending on how hard they fight to become more competitive and unique compared to watching the movie at home, but it would definitely not hurt the studios and movie makers. If anything, they stand to make a lot more money on average for every released movie.
Lets take a recent blockbuster. The first Twilight movie made $392,616,625 in the box office, $194,881,773 in DVD sales for a total of $587,498,398 (almost 600M - pretty good rake)
In your $5 they'd have to sell 117,499,679 of those $5 streams in order to make that equivalent revenue (so roughly one in every 60 people in the world need to buy a stream).
For more fun take the last Twilight Movie (Eclipse) which was a bigger draw ($826,423,724 total revenue). Then you'd have to sell 165M streams to get to those numbers.
Considering the $5 stream scenario could be shared across a family - I honestly am not sure your assumption that a studio could make more money is correct. The real X-Factor here is the cut the various distribution chains take.
I'm not sure your price point is right, but would you perhaps pay $20 for the same stream?
EDIT: Also I don't think the 4-weeks after theatrical release is going to work I don't think theaters are going to show your movie if you're going to kneecap them 4 weeks out.
(Admittedly grandparent did acknowledge that this could affect the theater ruin, but to suggest it would supplant it is a bit much. Conversely let's consider some may sample it at $5 who may not have otherwise. The people who usually wait for rental or cable. Those people now have the opportunity to go see it in IMAX 3d or whatever.)
I like films but have small kids so I can't get to the cinema as often as I'd like. By not letting me give them money to watch their film (and I won't pirate it, I'll just do something else) they're throwing money away. Get me while the publicity and hype are out there, when I can discuss it with friends and colleagues. By the time it's out on DVD the moment could well have passed and my money has gone.
The cinema done right is a great experience and personally I don't think it's going anywhere. It doesn't matter how big my TV gets, I'll never have that social experience, the fact of getting out of the house where the phone won't ring and the door won't go, where I won't be tempted to pick up the iPad or whatever.
Watching at home, if done right, is a complementary market as much as it is a competitive one. And if it is competitive one then hey, what do they care if they're charging for it?
It's not going to be $5, probably more like $20 (think a couple of people, a couple of tickets equivalent, perhaps figure in the fact they can't upsell you popcorn and subtract some lower costs), but so long as the price seems fair next to the multiplex cost I'm fine with it.
If you watch the latest blockbuster on the day of release at home on your mega projector that you bought with all the money you saved by not going to the cinema, with your wife, your three kids, and your neighbours (5 more people), you pay for just one stream/ticket.
If all those people go to the cinema, they pay for 10 tickets.
That's a good rationale for why they care, imho.
I would end up watching a lot more movies, but providing much less income to the movie industry for each.
As I also said they lose the ability to up sell you highly profitable popcorn, you lose travel costs, the lose some overheads (but gain others) - there are a whole bunch of things to figure in. The release day cost of a movie rental wouldn't be a single cinema ticket price and it certainly wouldn't be a current rental cost. Off the top of my head I think you'd be looking somewhere around two to three times average cinema ticket prices, possibly varying by time (weekend evenings might cost more).
The last sentence is a good thing for them though not a bad one. If you watch 3 movies a week instead of one and pay on average $5 instead of $10, they've still got $15 instead of $10. Their costs will likely only be marginally higher with three movies vs. one (most of it being the infrastructure) which means that their overall profit is likely up.
You don't optimise a business for revenue, you optimise it for profit.
Before you scream bloody murder, remember DVDs are only 480p.
Carnage - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1692486/
> Piracy has far more effect on DVD sales. This is for 4 reasons. The price of DVD's, the inconvenience of going out and getting the DVD, the bullshit adverts and unskipable junk before the film and the menu which takes 20 seconds to display before you can press PLAY.
You forgot to mention your main point about quality! The moment the DVD is released, the DVD is available to pirates for their dvdrips.
whereas you don't get a copy of the theater reel to play with just by buying a theater ticket, leading to the cam-rips you referred to. so, purely for that reason given that pirates distribute high-quality rips once they're available, you would expect this effect on DVD-sales to figure prominently in your list. (I'm sure you had it in mind but just forgot).
If you enjoy 'cinema' you would probably rather pluck your eyes out than watch a film like this anywhere in anyway
Interestingly, you used the term 'Film' to describe The Avengers, which some people would jump down YOUR throat for - since this was an almost All-Digital release.
I saw some clamoring to see it on 35mm, which is a little ridiculous in this case.
Will movie directors shout "fclose()" at the end of scene I wonder?
Back on topic then, Does anyone have the background necessary to know if someone (anyone) is working towards disrupting the complicated publishing mess that keeps films from being available overseas for so long.
Avengers was released overseas prior to the US release. A film like The Descendants was released 4 weeks early in NY/LA, and then foreign releases were only 6 weeks after the US release. That is insanely fast for a movie that could potentially have never made it out of NY/LA.
Besides, 6 weeks is still a long time in the age of instant global communication. Basically, all the hype and buzz surrounding a film starts well before the release and dramatically drops a week after. After a month, people have pretty much forgotten about it.
This hurts sales even without piracy, because the artificially created urgency (why do you thing so many people go see a movie in the opening week?) has gone.
There is no alternative for simultaneous release that doesn't hurt sales, piracy or not.
I also don't agree with your 6 month figure, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong. Release dates are widely published. Comedies tend to have the slowest rollout because it takes time to prove that the humor translates well. Even with comedies, I can't find anything where the wide US release is 6 months before foreign releases.
Who cares about theaters?
I haven't been in a movie theater in 5 years - it just doesn't appeal to me at all. And I know for a fact that many of my friends who used to be cinema-buffs don't care much anymore either.
We prefer to watch films in our home-cinemas now, on a big flatscreen or beamer.
Consequently we use the first release in watchable quality that we can get. And often that's from PirateBay. Not because we'd be unwilling to pay $9.99 for a HD movie on iTunes, but simply because most movies appear 6 months earlier on the torrents.
If iTunes launched in parallel with the theaters we would buy all movies.
I wish movie distribution was up to the standards we expect when buying music these days. Ditch DRM, just offer me the files and let me re-download them at any time via my account. Streaming is an option but for me bandwith is limited (speed, not volume) while harddisk space is cheap. Plus XBMC + Apple TV + NAS lets me build up my own film archive.
unfortunately and in contrast to the process of buying music we aren't there yet with movies.
I have a decent home-cinema system too (projector and all) but I still go and watch movies. The screen is so much bigger and brighter in theaters, it's not really the same experience. However, sound-wise, I agree a good home cinema system is unbeatable. You can sit right in the center, at the sweet spot to get all the effects right, something you cannot achieve often in theaters.
Luxury theatres are appearing. My small hometown (population something like 90,000) has one - big comfy seats, nice screens, good sound, lack of idiot customers, to-the-seat food and drink service.
If iTunes launched in parallel with the theaters, the PirateBay would have a pristine copy of all movies in the theaters. If you were a movie maker or a distributor, is something that you would do given the current marketplace? That strikes me as bat-shit crazy.
That being said, I think it would be best if the top 100 films had a global release, and were all available on iTunes globally 10-14 weeks later. Hollywood is forced to compete with the PirateBay. At some point, they are going to have to start selling on iTunes as soon as the pirates get a quality copy.
I personally love going to the movies, and frankly I think it is a bargain. I spend about $200/year on movie tickets and enjoy it most of the time, and I spend about $1000/year on broadway shows and fucking hate it the majority of the time. There is nothing that gives me the creeps more than when someone breaks into song for no apparent reason. I do love comedy clubs, and $5 admission plus two overpriced drinks is the best deal around.
When I have kids and move to the suburbs, my perspective will likely be identical to yours. I fully understand your perspective, and a I think hollywood would be well served to cater to the future myself.
Why go if you hate it so much?
It's really hit and miss, but most of the more major films lag by two to three months.
1 - http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%82%A2%E3%83%99%E3%83%B3%E3%...
Oh no, they DO need the money, believe me. Most of their productions take years to just break even, and some never do. The reason why they are not actively pursuing international releases is linked to the way Japanese do business. Most of these media companies are very traditional and do not understand the opportunities outside of Japan. And even if they did, they'd need to get the approval of an old 社長 to proceed with such plans. This happens very rarely. They are missing a huge market.
Not true. Avengers is not even out in Japan yet. It wont be out until later summer (August). I can't believe they are delaying it for so long. And Japan is a BIG market for movies.
GOD you are damn right on this one. Dubbing studios in Japan are just horrible. Honestly i dont understand how Japan can both have excellent voice over studios for animation and extremely bad ones for western movies. There s something deeply wrong going on there.
Another part is translation. Though language barriers have been
decreasing during the last two decades, they still exist, and most
people prefer to watch movies in their native language, or at least have
subtitles in a language they know well.
Various "fan groups" release subtitled versions of their favorite anime,
and at least to some degree, this addresses the time delay of
translation. More importantly, the entertainment industry has been
slowly learning from the fan subbing groups. A good example would be the
partnership between entertainment companies (read: investors) and groups
like CrunchyRoll which does and distributes officially sanctioned,
subtitled (re)releases a short time after the programs have originally
Though the former could easily be considered just cost cutting, the
latter is undoubtedly due to pressure from alternate distribution
"I like both, but it doesn't matter what I think, as the last 35mm film camera rolled off the assembly line months back and most studios are ceasing print distribution altogether: first overseas, then domestically."
But through more official channels, there's not much which can be done until rights-holders wise up. They have been and remain the core bottleneck.
The main reasons these movies take so long to distribute outside of North America has been because of local content & distribution rules for movies, risk assessment for success from distributors and, importantly, studios not wanting to spend extra money on new or extra reels when they can just use those from North America after a few months in overseas markets.
I disagree. They're intensely biased, they select only information that suits their agenda and they spin reports and statistics shamelessly.
That's not to say that they're entirely worthless as a news source but they do have to be treated as a mouthpiece.
Sometimes triangulation between propaganda artists points you at the truth. Or at least illuminates what each side prefers you not see.
The direct impact of cam releases might very well be negligible. The bigger problem for the studios is that if word gets out that a blockbuster movie fails the expectations of its potential audience. That probability is much higher if there are CAMs available before the theatrical release.
So, to minimize losses caused by piracy, make your movie not suck.
Yes, but it doesn't work exactly like that. s/not suck/profitable.
This just means that instead of taking chances on a film which is a big risk (think Inception), we will simply see more and more super hero movies and more and more sequels. There is much less of a margin of error when people are downloading things.
I think there's little or no room for a "Requiem for a Dream" type of film in the coming years. Maybe kickstarter will have to be the avenue to make movies like that.
In many ways it was an art house sci-fi film but in many others it did everything by the book for a big budget movie (proven track record, stars, special effects and action then hype it to the hilt).
You're right that the pattern is towards the more conservative but I'm not sure that Inception was a massively out there move.
Requiem for a Dream is a completely different beast and shows the other way you can do it even now. That was a cheap film - £5m or so. Adjust for inflation and you get maybe double that, which is still less than 5% of the budget of the Avengers.
That sort of film can be funded by smaller production companies, by larger studios (often as vanity / credibility projects - Schindler's List was seen that way when it was signed off though I doubt the studio will admit that now) and in a host of other ways. I can certainly see large studios funding things like that almost as part of an incubator model - giving new directors who seem promising a stage to show what they can do before they let them loose on something larger.
WALL-E lacks dialog for 1/2 the movie, but because Pixar could test it out ahead of time they knew it was worth making vary early in the process. Pixar's string of hits has a lot to do with constant refinement and feedback. Saying Hollywood needs to put out more Toy Story 3's is not a terrible thing when their done well. There is something to be said for the old script + 6 weeks of frantic shooting + cutting room floor style of movies, but it's a style that showed up when film was expensive and budgets where tight.
Surely advance screenings and reviews have exactly the same effect in that case.
Also, there's such a thing as a review embargo. It would be interesting to see how review embargos correlate with box office success and after-the-fact ratings.
If the studios think they have a real turkey on their hands (and they'll know this before the critics see it - the focus groups will have told them if they didn't know just by watching themselves) they tend to drop all press screenings.
But you're right that word of mouth will often be more significant than a review. Blockbuster type films tend to be completely critic proof - the reviewers can savage them as much as they like and there's little impact - but if a couple of friend's whose opinions you trust tell you a film sucks there's a good chance you'll steer clear.
Compare that to a film that doesn't excite me (or most of the general population), and all of a sudden I'd rather wait for the movie on Netflix or whatever, because then £16 is better spent on a takeaway and watching from home.
I know films are different strokes for different folks, but the cinema is really overpriced if you're in the 'shall we / shan't we' category, so I can understand people just thinking - I'll pirate it and save the money (or spend it on dinner) and watch from the comfort of my home - the risk to reward is so much lower.
I'm not saying that's right - just with the cost as it is you need a great (or mass appeal) product to get bums on seats. Or you have lower the cost in cinemas and make going to the cinema the experience ("we can choose a film when we get there") rather than people just going to see something in particular.
EDIT: Regardless, great article on TF ;-)
Quick off-topic question. Is the 3d version worth it here? Usually most 3d films is 3d just because, but make no real good use of it. But being 3d just adds an extra unnecessary eye strain.
This is why I watched the Avengers on 2d. But is this one of those rare movies (like avatar) where the 3d version is actually better? If so, I might go back and watch it again.
What I thought was odd was that there were things in 3D that were just part of the background (like there was literally a scene or two where the railing on a walkway was jutting out in 3D).
If you've already seen it in 2D, I really don't think you missed out; but if you liked the movie (and I thought it was very very good) and were going to see it again anyway, the 3D doesn't ruin the experience.
It's a post-conversion- it was shot 2D and 3D added in post. This almost always results in useless 3D at best.
That said, if you're a fan of 3D, haven't seen it and are deciding whether to see it in 3D or 2D, I'd still recommend it with the silly glasses.
Does this mean that you only had to pay $13 per person? In Sweden, a single ticket sells for $20.
Here are the prices for tonight in a large mall-cinema in West London:
Are you paying that right across Sweden? If so, how awful :-(
Damn right. It makes sense that if you release a film in Europe 6 months after the USA that there will be more piracy in Europe. Why should we have to wait? There is a simple solution: Release films at the same time/day. This is an example of piracy making things better for the consumer, and this sort of market-correcting piracy should be encouraged.
I think considering that "overseas piracy" is the big stated concern for Hollywood (less people downloading cam-rips, more people selling DVD's on corners), their strategy of actually launching the movie outside the U.S. first made sense.
I suspect we'll see more of that for tent-pole type films.
Why not just have ONE worldwide premiere, and journalists from various countries can cover that single meaningful event?
Japan is a huge market for international film releases, so some of the actors do show up once in a while, but not often and certainly not for most movies.
There are popular television shows that cover all the current Hollywood releases of the week, including those without any scheduled local release date. Lack of media attention is not the problem.
Inertia, fear of change, and localism (who cares about the rest of the world?) is the problem, but it is slowly but surely getting better.
The world has changed. Film studios (or candle markers) do no have a right to continue to make money the same way. They can adapt or die.
Interesting comparison. My favourite is "weavers":
Reels are one of the last major costs for film distributors, and even in the face of piracy they would rather cut costs there, than put there risk onto their own shoulders and produce more reels. They are scared of being stuck with a flop movie, and many theatres in the UK and elsewhere outside of the USofA won't commit to buying reels without seeing USA box-office turnout first. The delay is here, and until we have digital projecting, I'm not sure how it will be solved
Are reel projectors actually widely used still?
Digital projectors exist. Physical reels are unnecessary. The general public does not care that it's expensive for you, we want to watch films now. Cinemas of the world: Adapt or die.
It will happen as soon as the first studio realizes and takes advantage of the fact that with such a scheme you a) can charge for the same movie over and over again, and b) you can greatly improve the feedback on how popular which movies are, which could use an update/sequel and which should be left to die. This is something we in the Web business take for granted, but in the movies they are still too ingrained in the old ways that they don't see the benefits and effects of online distribution. But they will, mind you; not all at once, but as soon as it proves itself they'll jump on the bandwagon.
The Avengers got people to go in mass groups and those people told other friends to watch it.
As long as it's a few kids downloading copies of the latest blockbuster they aren't too worried - these people are guaranteed to go to see every blockbuster anyway - and will go with large numbers of their friends - and go multiple times. That's why the piracy of this kind of movie doesn't hurt US ticket sales.
But when nice respectable couples decide to download the movie rather than making the trip out, paying babysitters, etc then the industry has to worry. All it's nice middle of the road mid budget movies that it can't pay for with fast food tie-ins or theme park rides and had to rely on DVD sales for.
I think the guy who released that CAM might have been doing the movie studio a favor because it might have made the next guy feel like he didn't need to do his own upload which might have been better.
If there was a good version available when I went to pirate it, I wouldn't have dragged myself to the theater.
I wanted to buy a large popcorn and soda with my cash when I got in there, but I only had $12 so I had to put it on the card.
I just wish they would release stuff on Amazon or iTunes (although I hate that program) the same day as it comes out.
Anyway, I spend way too much money on Amazon videos.
A cam'd version of The Avengers is not a market substitute for seeing the movie in a theater. Of the movies you could possibly consider this way, The Avengers is among the least amenable to substitution via cam'd copies.
All the widely-available torrents of The Avengers are cam'd or equivalent. There aren't screeners circulating.
A DVD rip is a near-perfect substitute for a DVD (or a streamed version of the movie, or whatever).
Nearly 50% of the revenue from motion pictures happens after the theater release, most of it DVDs.
Think what you want to think about torrenting movies, but it should bother you when sites like Torrentfreak insult your intelligence.
There are a few sites that tptacek will insta-contrarian on HN. Torrentfreak is one of them. You know the xkcd comic about someone is wrong on the internet? Substitute "being wrong" for "generating rageviews with libertarian nerds" and that is tptacek.
"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."
They use night vision goggles & special cameras to locate people recording movies, and charge people with serious federal crimes for the act (the kind where you can get 3 years in prison) via a law enacted in 2005 . Those huge, ugly brown spots you see flash on the screen? They exist to track cam pirates. They can also use audio distortions to pinpoint the exact seat the person is in to help them further narrow down the suspects.
Hollywood has a very odd way of showing a lack of true concern about cams.
 FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT AND COPYRIGHT ACT OF 2005 - http://www.copyright.gov/legislation/pl109-9.html
EDIT: Link = https://torrentfreak.com/movie-spy-cameras-attack-the-dying-...
I can certainly agree with your A & B.
The problem, which this article conveniently ignores, is that the film industry is right about most file sharing: DVD rip torrents are a real threat.
Hollywood says cams in movie theaters are a big problem. Article refutes this. The article isn't about anything else.
Which sucks, because a lot of good artists are being held back by this.
What was the point of the article? I read it and came out of it completely perplexed. If I could summarize-
-Really terrible copies of something don't significantly impact the revenue of the something. OBVIOUSLY. Hence why Hollywood is going crazy trying to stop high quality copies (they want you nervously scurrowing in a corner of some dank cinema, fearful of the repercussions. Notice that there are no digital transfers or good quality rips available...piracy fail).
-Small numbers of people downloading something with wide appeal don't significantly impact the revenue of something. Hence why Hollywood needs to continue with lawsuit assaults and fear tactics and site takedowns to ensure that the number of people downloading remains small.
-Huge budget, highly anticipated, mega-marketed movies will do well regardless, so...um...
This piece could have been written by someone actively campaigning for draconian piracy laws. It literally promotes the anti-piracy campaigns.
It makes absolutely no sense - they're blocking people in other countries from getting to know their new movie/single, which means those potential cinema goers and DVD/CD buyers either forget about it or go to torrent sites to get it, so when the movie/single is finally released, few people care about it.
One of the stupidest thing I've ever seen, for sure...
Because the distribution rights probably belong to someone else in said countries. It's the same reason why some songs are available on iTunes in the US but curiously missing elsewhere.
So of the 100,000 people who downloaded it, it would be interesting to poll how many went to see it after seeing that it was a decent movie.
This is largely off-topic but I was wondering if there are any other popular anti-camcording technologies?
Also could a large IR lamp facing the viewers (or aimed at screen) be used to disrupt the usage of camcorders? This will be additionally beneficial as a large part of the world requires heating solutions during significant part of the year.
Even though I agree with most points in this article, the 0.5% is a bit off. When a "pirate" (yarghh) decides to download a movie, they usually end up watching it with friends and/or family - not just by themselves..
Still, if you really care about a movie, you would watch it in a cinema instead of watching a bad "CAM" version.
So yeah a movie like the Avengers which for me and probably most others will definitely be in the top bucket won't be affected much by pirating. Can't say the same for say Madagascar 3.