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WB Took Pains To "Delay" Pirating of Dark Knight 642

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

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  • well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i_liek_turtles (1110703) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:03AM (#24368057)
    "If the movie's a stinker, the word will travel at the speed of a mouse click, ruining chances of making back money." So you can't get money for a shoddy product? Cry me a river.
    • by martin_henry (1032656) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:09AM (#24368185)

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

      here come the tears...

      • by markov_chain (202465) on Monday July 28, 2008 @11:49AM (#24371059) Homepage

        Why not make it illegal to talk about the movie? There could probably be a copyright basis somehow, and apparently it does hurt the business.

    • Re:well... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:16AM (#24368317)
      What's amazing is that these studios seem to be focused on the losses they incur from a bad movie. That's unreal: the metric is not how good a movie is, but rather, how effectively they can trick people into seeing a really bad movie. One doesn't need special effects to make a great film, just talented and creative directors, writers, and actors. It would be one thing if they only mentioned it causally, but they mention it over and over again, as if their biggest fear is that piracy will expose them as shitty film makers.

      I still remember the time when people would wait for movie critics to give their opinion on a movie before they went to see it. I also remember not wasting money on movies that received bad reviews.
      • Re:well... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by tzhuge (1031302) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:36AM (#24368697)
        "They" are business people, and probably negligent in their jobs if they didn't focus on box-office sales as a metric. Like it or not, the movie going public likes CG-fest blockbusters, and, as long as that's the case, the studios are going to focus on those.
        • Re:well... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sm62704 (957197) on Monday July 28, 2008 @10:04AM (#24369197) Journal

          "They" are business people, and probably negligent in their jobs if they didn't focus on box-office sales as a metric

          No, "they" are thieves who are out to con you out of your hard earned money, no better than someone who "seals" your driveway with black paint, or a "drug dealer" who sells oregano.

          If they were truly buisinesspeople they would make the best product possible and sell it on their merits, like businesspeople used to do. There have always been thieves in the business world, but it seems that these days thieves vastly outnumber the honest businesspeople.

          Dislcaimer - I haven't seen the movie. Maybe it is a good movie, but if these people are worried that it sucks and want to keep its percieved suckage out of your mind, the people who are selling it (not necessarily the people who made it) are thieves, not honest businessmen.

          When did stealing from your customers become ethical and normal, anyway?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mi (197448)

            If they were truly buisinesspeople they would make the best product possible

            As determined by who? The criteria: "how many people have gone to see it," — is not at all a bad one... Heck, I think, it is the best one.

            [...] like businesspeople used to do.

            Market success is what has always driven business people. There is simply no better criteria known today — the only alternative is having some sort of committee, that would review products (from toothpicks to movies) and decide, whether or not to l

            • Re:well... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Chris Burke (6130) on Monday July 28, 2008 @11:00AM (#24370241) Homepage

              Market success is what has always driven business people.

              Yes, but business people don't fool themselves into thinking market success == good product. No, they are quite well aware that they are often trying to achieve market success with an inferior product. They are well aware that they are essentially tricking people into buying it. If they weren't aware, they wouldn't be able to work around the product's flaws with marketing.

              The point is that the business people are driven by money, and they are well aware of the obvious fact that making money doesn't necessarily mean making the best product by any metric. It means making money. That's all.

              Only completely credulous consumers, the kind that thinks the quality of an OS is proven by number of installations, actually believe this is a good metric of quality. The business men selling it know that it isn't, but "quality" isn't something they care about other than the extent to which it affects sales. And hey if advertising can increase the apparent quality of the item to cover the gap, then that's just fine.

              Would you suggest that a product which is garbage but has a good advertising campaign is actually a better product? Because the advertising drove the sales, and you're saying market success == best product, so this is a natural consequence of that line of thinking.

              There is simply no better criteria known today -- the only alternative is having some sort of committee, that would review products (from toothpicks to movies) and decide, whether or not to let them be sold. I assure you, that system would suck much more...

              Only because of that "decide whether or not to let them be sold" nonsense.

              If more people actually read independent reviews of products, and used that to decide whether or not to buy a product, then yes this system would be much better. Because schlock that only gets sold because some marketing department came up with a clever way of making the product not look like crap would be less successful.

              • Re:well... (Score:5, Insightful)

                by WhiplashII (542766) on Monday July 28, 2008 @11:21AM (#24370591) Homepage Journal

                Would you suggest that a product which is garbage but has a good advertising campaign is actually a better product?

                While on it's face this seems to beg the answer no, there are times when the correct answer is yes. For example:

                If I make a drug that saves the lives of all cancer patients, 100% success rate, but can't market my way out of a box, I save no one.

                If Joe makes a drug that only saves half the people, but he can market like no one else, he saves millions of lives - and makes enough money to buy my product, and market it as well.

                Creating the great product is only half the work - matching up products with customers is a lot harder than people think. When I am evaluating a new business venture, the first question I ask is "how will you get customers?"

          • Re:well... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Stook (1270928) on Monday July 28, 2008 @10:40AM (#24369847)

            "they" are thieves who are out to con you out of your hard earned money, no better than someone who "seals" your driveway with black paint, or a "drug dealer" who sells oregano....

            If they were truly buisinesspeople they would make the best product possible and sell it on their merits, like businesspeople used to do.

            And what merits would these be? The cast? The producer? Critic reviews? Name me 5 critics whose opinion you trust.

            I can remember a revolutionary movie a few years back that I would have laughed at and never seen... "Starring Lawrence Fishburn, Keanu Reeves and one of the old Power Rangers..." That movie turned out to be the Matrix, and it's because of the advertising that I saw it.

            Bottom line, as a consumer, it's your job to research the product you want to purchase. If your research is their advertising, then suck it up and deal with the crappy movie. You've just behaved exactly how they wanted you too. There are more than enough places around to get a good idea of what the movie will be like before going to see it.

            If you don't ask/look at what they're putting on your driveway or can't tell the difference between a bag of KB and oregano... I've got some great swampland in Florida you've got to see...

            • Re:well... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by rpillala (583965) on Monday July 28, 2008 @12:15PM (#24371437)

              And what merits would these be? The cast? The producer? Critic reviews? Name me 5 critics whose opinion you trust.

              Mick LaSalle (http://www.sfgate.com)
              Filthy (http://bigempire.com/filthy)
              Stephen Greydanus (http://www.decentfilms.com)
              Roger Ebert (http://rogerebert.suntimes.com)
              ...I had one more and forgot it.

              By "trust" I don't mean I always agree on what's good or bad. Rather, I believe that these critics give an opinion whose basis I can usually understand, and which is free from any pressure to sell me the movie. An honest review that pans a movie sometimes convinces me that I want to see it. Similarly, some positive reviews dissuade me from seeing some movies. Critics don't have to share all my personal tastes to be trustworthy.

          • Re:well... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by kaizendojo (956951) on Monday July 28, 2008 @10:52AM (#24370061)
            They are thieves for doing the job they were hired for?!? Gee let's pillory the number of /.'ers here who put a catchy subject line in for a borign thread! Get real; no one is dragging you into a the movie house. If you decided to go see a movie and then made a judgement that YOU weren't entertained, then tough. There are no gaurantees in entertainment, like MOST of life. If you hire someone to seal your driveway with no credentials and no license, then it's YOUR frigging fault for being an idiot. If you buy drugs from someone you can't trust (and who you don't smoke it with FIRST ) then it's YOUR fault. I am so freaking sick and tired of people bitching about the world owing them a living. TAKE SOME DAMN RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOURSELF!!
      • Re:well... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:37AM (#24368703) Journal

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

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

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

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

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by rugatero (1292060)

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

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

          Which is utterly worthless. It is not beyond the promoters to take the line "Whatever you do, do not go and see this film!" from a review and use the last five words in the promo material.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by robably (1044462)

            It is not beyond the promoters to take the line "Whatever you do, do not go and see this film!" from a review and use the last five words in the promo material.

            That's appalling. It should of course be "Go to see this film".

        • Re:well... (Score:5, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2008 @10:07AM (#24369253)

          I may or may not get alot off USENET. I may or may not have an unlimited account because the 50 gig a month account just wasn't cutting it. I may or may not have gotten "The Love Guru" because I may or may not actually "try" and watch anything. So a few weeks ago, I may or may not have been in my living room, folding/sorting socks with the Love Guru on in the background. It may or may not have been so bad that I actually stopped it so I could concentrate on folding my socks.

          A hypothetically free DVD quality version of a new supposed Hollywood movie, in the air conditioned comfort of my alleged home was theortically so bad that I may or may not have turned it off so I could focus on sorting socks.

          Oh, and Sock monster 5, Me 0.

        • Re:well... (Score:4, Funny)

          by L Boom (1274024) on Monday July 28, 2008 @10:13AM (#24369379)
          Yep. By those standards, the new Mike Myers film was phenomenally successful: Love Guru comes out as the least pirated major studio release in a decade.
      • by tjstork (137384) <todd@bandrowsky.gmail@com> on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:40AM (#24368761) Homepage Journal

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

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

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

        • by HairyCanary (688865) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:46AM (#24368865)

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

          • by a_real_bast... (1305351) on Monday July 28, 2008 @10:00AM (#24369099)
            Hey, now. The Wayan brothers and Rob Schneider have to eat, y'know.
            • by Mr. Beatdown (1221940) on Monday July 28, 2008 @11:36AM (#24370827)

              While I am a fan of neither the Wayans brothers nor Rob Schneider, they clearly fill a niche in the movie-going public market. If enough people are buying what they're selling to keep it worth making, they'll keep making it. It's true for everything, and that means movies, too.

              Creative or not, you can't change the foundations of capitalism to make only good movies happen. To make only good movies happen, you need to remove the market for bad movies. Critics do their job by reducing the market, but there will always be someone willing to see Little Man 3 or Hot Chick 2: Girls with Junk.

              What you really want is either the end of capitalism as an influence in film making, or a homogeneous movie-going public. I think both of these outcomes should be viewed as undesirable. Unfortunately, that leaves me in the position of arguing that in the grand scheme of things, making Big Momma's House was a good idea.

        • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:59AM (#24369085)

          I'll tell you what. If a movie producer gives me their planned list for the director and the actors and a copy of the screenplay, I'll turn that around in 1 day and tell you if your film will suck or not.

          Now, after a few years of me depriving Uwe Boll, SNL spinoff actor, and a few Wayans brothers of their livelyhood, eventually I'll reach a point where I won't immediately recognize the crap. At that point, I may be out of a job, but the films will be better.

          So there isn't some 'hit-movie' button, but there certainly should be a lever to flush the crap.

        • by vell0cet (1055494) on Monday July 28, 2008 @10:01AM (#24369125)
          Another problem is that the general public also doesn't know what a "good movie" is. I bet you more people saw the godawful Batman & Robin (to date, the only movie I've walked out of) in the theater than Blade Runner.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by gnick (1211984)

            Another problem is that the general public also doesn't know what a "good movie" is.

            I bet you more people saw the godawful Batman & Robin (to date, the only movie I've walked out of) in the theater than Blade Runner.

            I wanted to point out what an ignorant statement that was - I sure as hell never wasted my time with Batman and Robin and I thoroughly enjoyed Blade Runner. So, I went after some numbers to shut down that disgusting and spurious statement of yours.

            Unfortunately, it appears that you're not only right [B&R link] [imdb.com], but really distressingly right [BR link] [imdb.com]. Although (based on my rough interpretation on the rather odd box office numbers for BR and [falsely] assuming that the re-releases were free to the stu

            • by Steve001 (955086) on Monday July 28, 2008 @10:56AM (#24370143)

              gnick wrote:

              Unfortunately, it appears that you're not only right [B&R link], but really distressingly right [BR link]. Although (based on my rough interpretation on the rather odd box office numbers for BR and [falsely] assuming that the re-releases were free to the studio), it appears that Blade Runner was eventually profitable while Batman and Robin cost the studio almost $20M.

              I think that this is an indication of how good a movie actually is (whether the movie is great, or falls into the catagory of "so bad it's good"):

              • How long is it still remembered and enjoyed?
              • With the advent of video, how many people are still interested in buying the movie.

              Blade Runner has been out for more than 20 years, and it was only a modest success when it was released. To me, the true proof of its quality is shown by: (1) how much interest there still is in this movie, (2) how many people are willing to buy it now, and (3) how much influence the movie still has to this day.

              Many people remember the great movies of the past, and I think this is a factor that can be used as proof that they are great is that they are still remembered and enjoyed now. Although people remember Citizen Kane, how many movies released in the same year are also remembered?

        • by jollyreaper (513215) on Monday July 28, 2008 @10:13AM (#24369371)

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

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

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

          You're missing the point. "Nobody ever sets out to make a bad movie," you say, and I say "Yeah, but they're not setting out to make great movies." It all comes down to project management. Does the project have the support of the money men? Do they put someone in charge of the project who will eat, sleep and breathe it? Will they trust in his judgment and limit external interference? Was the project even a good idea from the start?

          Often times these movies can be seen as flawed undertakings right from the start but politics and egotism will prevent anyone from pointing that out. Are you going to be the one to tell Hitler invading Russia in the winter is a bad idea? May as well tell your girlfriend it's not the pants but her ass that makes her ass look fat. Some fool decided to give Transformers a greenlight. Are you going to be an even bigger fool and tell them it was a bad idea?

          Some of the best and worst movies ever made have been driven by visionary men given almost dictatorial powers over the project. The Matrix as a triumph of tight focus and vision. Of course, the sequels show how directors can drive it into the ground. Lucas served as a catalyst for developing Star Wars, the give and take of the process making for a stronger product. He got too much control in the prequels and drove 'em into the ground. The LOTR trilogy is a triumph of this theory. Jackson had the drive, he gathered a brilliant team, and he achieved a miracle. That he then went on immediately after to pinch off a giant monkey turd of a Kong remake shows the theory is now flawless.

          As good as those movies can be and as bad as they can be, I've yet to see a movie produced by a committee that did any better than middling. Often times such movies would compete with the very worst results of the bigshot directors.

          Ultimately, I think the reason why we see design by committee and timid, uninspired leadership here is that we're looking at the "sons of great men" problem. When we talk of great men, the sons are rarely the equal of the fathers. If a king is good, his son is likely to be poor at best, more likely catastrophic. Founders can bring a business from nothing to world-leader in a single lifetime but when they and their fellows grow old and retire, the company can end up in the hands of bureaucrats who enjoy the profits of the business but lack an understanding of how it truly operates, of where they should be going. The very act of starting a business is a tremendous gamble, most fail. But now that the business is established, the management wants safe, predictable returns. (On the other hand, hired-gun CEO's will come in and gut the place, spike the stock, and cash out -- they don't care about the company's longevity.)

          The final point to bring up is that art is the last thing on the minds of the money people running the show. The purpose of running a TV network is advertising. TV shows are nothing more than a means of keeping you glued to the seat during commercial breaks. Execs could give a fuck less about what it is that keeps you there during the breaks, they just want to make sure it's effective. You want police procedurals? Sitcoms? Oh, reality shows are doing great, Am

    • Re:well... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ethanms (319039) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:28AM (#24368549)

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

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

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

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

      • Re:well... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by MadKeithV (102058) on Monday July 28, 2008 @10:16AM (#24369425)
        Having just seen the movie in question, I have no doubt that the death of Heath Ledger has really fired up the media buzz around the movie, but it also happens to be one of the best movies I've seen for a while.
        In the end it's going to be an enormous success because past all the buzz the movie didn't suck either so people will keep coming to see it past the opening week.
      • Re:well... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by amabbi (570009) on Monday July 28, 2008 @10:19AM (#24369469)
        Why so serious? I don't buy the logic that the tragic death of one of the actors led to the current box office success of The Dark Knight. By that logic, The Twilight Zone movie, in which one of the lead actors was killed on-screen, would have been a box office monster... which it was not.
      • Re:well... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gaspyy (514539) on Monday July 28, 2008 @11:12AM (#24370471)

        Not fair.

        I'd venture to say that you haven't seen The Dark Knight. Judging from the media hype, I thought that it's all because Ledger's help too.

        However, having seen the movie, I can safely say that Heath Ledger outshines everyone else in the movie. Maybe they (the producers) have altered the music or the editing or whatever, but the movie seems to be about the Joker rather than about Batman.

        Health's Joker puts Nicholson's (and Burton's) version to shame and it deserves all the accolade. It's an intense, scary character.

    • by TheMeuge (645043) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:31AM (#24368601)

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

      Every download or bootleg DVD != movie ticket.

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

      • by Retric (704075) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:37AM (#24368705)
        I know someone who stopped paying for movies and just downloads them now. So some download or bootleg DVD = movie ticket.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jedidiah (1196)

          Still. They probably download a lot more than they ever would have watched in the cinema.

          OTOH, I see the declining cinema experience being more of a driver than anything else.
          This is coming at the SAME EXACT TIME as very good home theatre setups both in terms
          of audio and video as well as pervasive DVD and download availability.

          Even if you don't pirate there is little motivation to put up with spam and inconsiderate
          people just so you can pay more for the movie than you would have buying the DVD on the
          day of

        • by Collective 0-0009 (1294662) on Monday July 28, 2008 @10:07AM (#24369251)
          And these aren't nerds only anymore. Now my sister is in on the action (she is kinda a nerd), but so are all of her housewife friends - they all know how to get free movies, they trade them, they download telly-tubby dvd's for the kids and all that crap. So yes, it is starting to affect movie ticket sales. However I don't want her and her 3 boys at the movie theater anyways.
      • by Cruciform (42896) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:58AM (#24369073) Homepage

        And then you have the people like me, who don't want to see it in a theater full of food-crunching, seat-kicking morons. I could probably download a cam of it, but I don't have any interest in that either.
        I'll wait till the blu-ray release and watch it at home (rental, because HD/blu-rays are just way overpriced)
        Of course if I could watch it at home the same day as theatrical release the studio would likely have a better shot at making more money off me. I bet they'd make a lot more off of simultaneous releases than me just renting it at blockbuster in 3 months.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          You should go try some of the new "pub" theaters. I just tried one for the first time. Pervious to that I was the same as you about going to the movies (and have the home theater to prove it). I hated the cramped seating, morons eating and whispering and so on. This new theater has a full bar and restaraunt. Every other row of seats was removed and they put in tables for your drinks and food. It was really nice (the theater not so much, but the whole experience). There are a few more distractions (wa
        • by lysse (516445) on Monday July 28, 2008 @10:31AM (#24369689)

          On the other hand, going to see smaller, less mainstream movies can be particularly wonderful. In the most extreme example, my ex and I had the cinema to ourselves when we went to see Secretary; but I've managed to see a fair few films with so few other people in the cinema that it really does repay the investment.

          On the other hand, only one person needs to decide to relate their thoughts on the film and everything else to their friend on the other end of a cellphone to spoil it for everyone. It should be legal to shoot those people where they sit, frankly.

          (With a crossbow, of course, to avoid further disruption. Or a bow and arrow. Maybe even slit their throat or garotte them.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by iocat (572367)
      Oh my... my Mac, with all smoothing turned off, rendered that "cl" in "click" exactly like a "d." At first I thought there was some awesome new simile I was learning...
    • Re:well... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao@nosPAm.hotmail.com> on Monday July 28, 2008 @11:19AM (#24370557) Homepage
      A quote that always comes to mind when I see a super-expensive turkey...

      "If Coca-Cola accidentally created 100 million cans of faulty Coke, you know for sure the entire 100 million cans would be dropped in the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean, without a second thought and irrespective of what that did to the year's profits. What do we do with a crappy movie? We double its advertising budget and hope for a big opening weekend. What have we done for the audience as they walk out of the cinema? We've alienated them. We've sold audiences a piece of junk; we just took twelve dollars away from a couple and we think we've done ourselves no long-term damage." -- David Puttnam, GQ magazine, April 1987

      Good thing Dark Knight was worth the money. Best movie I've seen in quite a while!
  • by Findeton (818988) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:04AM (#24368071)

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

  • Hey WB! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ariastis (797888) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:04AM (#24368089)

    Why so serious??

  • Honestly, now... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ikonoclasm (1139897) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:05AM (#24368095)
    Do they really think those 38 hours bought them anything? Do they honestly believe that their profits would have been reduced had a crappy cam recording been available 38 hours earlier? I'm sorry, but I'm just not capable of managing that level of suspension of disbelief. Seems more like a set-up for a later date in Congress where movie execs get to testify that they spent $x million to stave off the camming and all they were able to manage was 38 hours. I wonder just how dedicated they were to these "delaying tactics."
    • by j00r0m4nc3r (959816) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:08AM (#24368173)
      It doesn't matter what they actually believe, it's what they can trick congress into believing.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:10AM (#24368199)
      I'm sorry, but I'm just not capable of managing that level of suspension of disbelief.

      Hehehe. I know what you mean. I can suspend my disbelief long enough to imagine a guy in a bat costume flying and swinging around a darkened city fighting the forces of evil, but I can't figure out how a 38 hour delay makes any sort of dent in stopping piracy.
    • Re:Honestly, now... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:15AM (#24368287)

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

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

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

      • by A nonymous Coward (7548) * on Monday July 28, 2008 @11:28AM (#24370697)

        Pirated games provide the same play as bought games, unlike pirated movies. Very few individuals have home theaters with huge screens and zillions of speakers to rumble the floor.

        I do not believe that pirated DVDs eliminate very many movie goers. Those who would be satisfied with a camcorded copy of a movie on the opening weekend wouldn't have gone to the theater anyway.

        It's a different argument that pirated DVDs made later as copies of the real release DVDs could put a dent in sales of said release DVDs. These clowns are talking of the first 38 hours, and I do not believe they made any difference to movie theater tickets. They do not know their own market.

    • by philspear (1142299) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:34AM (#24368659)

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

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

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

      by griffjon (14945) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <noJffirG>> on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:56AM (#24369025) Homepage Journal

      You're probably, unfortunately, on to something here.

      Besides, if you're willing to pony up the cost of a crappy camcorded DVD/VCD of a Huge Action Movie, instead of the $10 to see it on the big screen with professional surround-sound... well, you probably wouldn't have gone to see the movie anyway.

  • by omeomi (675045) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:05AM (#24368103) Homepage
    FTA: "it was enough time to keep bootleg DVDs off the streets as the film racked up a record-breaking $158.4 million on opening weekend. The movie has now taken in more than $300 million."

    So, they credit those 38 hours for the record-breaking $158.4 million they made on opening weekend, but they've made another $150 million since the pirated copies have been available (according to the article). So, the pirated copies becoming available didn't seem to have much of an affect, did it?
    • by PIBM (588930) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:16AM (#24368323) Homepage

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

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:30AM (#24368583)

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kidgenius (704962)
      No, that's not what they said. What they said was they were able to keep the film from being bootlegged, DESPITE an incredibly successful opening. With that many people watching it, it's a shock that a cam copy didn't come out SOONER.
    • by Deathlizard (115856) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:47AM (#24368877) Homepage Journal

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

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

    • Sneezing (Score:3, Funny)

      by camperdave (969942)
      So, they credit those 38 hours for the record-breaking $158.4 million they made on opening weekend, but they've made another $150 million since the pirated copies have been available (according to the article). So, the pirated copies becoming available didn't seem to have much of an affect, did it?

      Hey, 8.4 million dollars is nothing to sneeze at!
  • Cams (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spad (470073) <slashdot@noSpam.spad.co.uk> on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:06AM (#24368125) Homepage

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

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

    • Re:Cams (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Xtravar (725372) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:32AM (#24368619) Homepage Journal

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

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

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

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

  • by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:07AM (#24368143) Homepage

    You know what helps to prevent piracy?

    Making a really terrible movie.

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

  • by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <shadow.wroughtNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:07AM (#24368151) Homepage Journal
    They used the Disappearing Camcorder Trick© to "persuade" would be pirateurs to go elsewhere...
  • Double dare (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:10AM (#24368209)

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

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

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

  • by Piata (927858) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:11AM (#24368225)
    I never understood the appeal of screeners. If I'm not interested enough to see a movie when it comes out in theaters, I'll rent it when it comes out on DVD. Watching a shaky cam with terrible audio at some awkward angle and half the screen covered in subtitles is not even worth the bandwidth needed to download it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Mascot (120795)

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

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

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

    • Telesync, then. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:25AM (#24368489) Journal

      A shakey cam is not worth the bandwidth.

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

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

  • Der... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:12AM (#24368237)
    I'm just glad the summary had this added on: "You know what else helps have a big opening weekend? Making a good movie." I mean, seriously, the successful opening weekend probably had next-to-nothing with the "extra vigilance" and had everything to do with the fact that the movie is, top to bottom, fantastic. Make a good movie and people will pay to see it. Make good product and people will pay money for it. It's not rocket science. But, of course, they'll tout the success of the movie and the "extra vigilance" as proof that piracy hurts their other movies which don't have similar record-breaking opening weeks. Never you mind that those movies aren't half as good as The Dark Knight - their success suffered because of those filthy pirates! sigh...
  • by Britz (170620) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:13AM (#24368251) Homepage

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

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

    That's called good ol' fashioned marketing.

  • by WormholeFiend (674934) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:13AM (#24368253)

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

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Grey_14 (570901)

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

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

  • by Vellmont (569020) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:15AM (#24368291) Homepage

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

  • by Easy2RememberNick (179395) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:23AM (#24368459)

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

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

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

  • by remitaylor (884490) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:47AM (#24368891)

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

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

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

    I was happy to pay for WALL-E too.

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

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

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

  • le sigh (Score:5, Informative)

    by legoman666 (1098377) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:58AM (#24369063)
    People need to get their bootleg terms correct.

    Cam: recorded with a camcorder with indirect audio (using the camcorder's built in mic)

    Telesync (TS): recorded with a camcorder (although TS's are often recorded with a higher quality camera) with direct audio (audio typically from a headphone jack for the hard of hearing)

    Telecine (TC): A telecine machine copies the film digitally from the reels. Sound and video should be very good, but these are fairly uncommon (expensive machines)

    Screener: A DVD or VHS copy sent to various places for promotional use. Many times they have timers and/or serials numbers. Quality varies, but DVD screeners should be excellent if the person ripping it isn't an idiot.

    R5: Usually made with a telecine machine from an analog source. Unlike a TC the digitization is performed by the studio itself with very professional (and expensive) equipment. The purpose is to beat the pirates to the market in 3rd world-ish areas (Russia, Africa, etc).

  • Pirating Nonsense (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tomvon (960633) on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:59AM (#24369081) Homepage
    I didn't buy a 52" HDTV to watch a DVD of some guy filming a movie in a theater. Give me a break. I also don't have the time or patience to wait 2 days to see if a torrent file is any good. I'm sure these guys lose some money to piracy but its not nearly as much as they make it out to be. Most people buying the street DVD for $5 are too cheap to and wouldn't pay the full price anyway. I'm tired of listening to multi millionaires whine about how people are stealing money from them. So skip the gold plated toilet for the new mansion and settle for the ceramic one.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Shados (741919)

      If you have a 52" HDTV, you probably don't fit the profile of the people these guys are trying to delay :) Maybe with 1/5th of your disposable income....

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by tomvon (960633)
        I wish. I just feel like a TV is an investment I'm going to have for 10 years and may as well get something good. I also got lucky bought a floor model so it was about the same price as most of the 42" or 46" TVs that my friends have. I don't think an HDTV is considered a luxury item these days any more.
  • by Smivs (1197859) <smivs@smivsonline.co.uk> on Monday July 28, 2008 @09:59AM (#24369083) Homepage Journal

    Just wondering if pirated copies of The Dark Knight would look best using TDK media?

  • by Goffee71 (628501) on Monday July 28, 2008 @10:26AM (#24369585) Homepage
    If they were that serious then they could stop the 'scourge' of cammed movies at source. Equip cinemas with an IR light emitter just below the screen, pointed at the audience that spreads beams across the cinema, digital camcorders will pick these up and make the movie unwatchable. If cammers start using IR filters on the cameras, upgrade them to field-emitters (or was it wave-emitters?) that send out a signal that distorts whatever the CCD 'sees'.

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