Paramount silencing portions of Indiana Jones in theaters?

Adrian McCarthy says:
While at the cinema yesterday, I read a notice posted by the box office that Paramount has intentionally silenced bits of the soundtrack of _Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull_ in order to deter and track piracy. The notice acknowledged that the momentary silences were annoying but that it was out of their control. Basically it said, please don't bug the manager if the sound drops out, unless it lasts more than a minute.

I searched this morning, but I can't find any mention of this on the web. I was going to snap a picture of the notice to post on my blog, but my cell phone battery had died--and I probably would have been chased off by a security guard.

Blanking out chunks of audio seems a rather crude way of watermarking the film. Once again, it's the paying customers who suffer.

For reference, it was the Regal Cinema at Hacienda Crossing in Dublin, California. I was there to see Speed Racer in IMAX, so I didn't directly witness tampering with Indiana Jones.


  1. That’s brilliant! If you can’t stop piracy make your product so crappy no one will want to pirate it!

  2. Great business plan they got there. They should consider blanking out entire sections of a movies video too. That’ll teach those dirty pirates!

  3. Heck, I might consider just buying a pirated version rather than go back to a theater just to go through that nonsense again. At least with the bootleg, my expectations are already lowered. Way to go Paramount!

  4. Hell, I was going to go see this in the theater (for once) but I think I’ll just grab the TS version of PB if that’s the case.

  5. Why would anyone pay full price to see part of a movie? Real classy! At least they put up a sign at the purchase point, but if it really is out of the theater’s hands, you’d expect them to say so verbally before accepting your money. I’d like to know up front if I’m paying to see a broken film…

  6. silly really .. i watched the movie on opening day first screening (did not see any signs like this) and when i came back home and checked online .. there was already a fairly watchable version out there (plus some not so good ones)

    I thing they really need to respond to the market .. give people an option to watch it big screen or home …

    But punishing the paying audience ??? silly !

    (just like those anti-pirate ads on DVDs … something i never have to suffer through when i download something)

  7. I saw Indiana Jones at 12:01 opening night at the Regal Fenway Cinema in Boston and the sound definitely dropped for a few seconds at a time on maybe a half-dozen occasions. The drop-offs were at random, annoying moments, such as in the middle of chase scenes. It was annoying but I don’t remember anyone in our group commenting about it afterwards, so it didn’t hurt the movie any more than, say, the crappy ending.

  8. Sounds like they didn’t want to take the blame for their system crapping out.

    Though I don’t specifically remember any tracking dots.

    If a theater dropped sound during a movie, I’d be getting refund, i’ll tell you that much.

  9. The sound was dropping out at Regal Cinema at San Ramon, California too. I have noticed this happening during some other recent films too.

    It is a shame as it usually happens during very loud scenes and can really ruin a movie.

  10. I saw Iron Man last night. I noticed that the sound dropped out a few times, but I just dismissed it as shoddy projection work.

  11. Happened to me at a Regal theater as well.

    Stupid. But not as stupid as the fridge and Tarzan.

  12. I hate the theatre. I hate 7$ pop corns, uncomfortable seats, sticky floors, talking teens, and 10$ tickets. Just make the fucking movie and let me download it at home. Hell, I’ll even give you the 9$ just not to have to deal with this crap. COME ON ALREADY!!! Get with the program!!

  13. How does this method do anything except maybe identify at what theater the piracy was accomplished?

    Like others have said, it seems much more effective to drive away paying customers than to thwart piracy.

  14. It’s been well over a year since I’ve seen a movie in a theater. No reason to these days.

  15. Oh, god, this is classy. This would be much more effective if, say, scenes were tinted imperceptibly instead. As it stands, the torrent product is again better than the real thing, because you can splice together the sound from multiple videos.

  16. Wow. I saw it at the Flagship Cinemas in Waterville, ME on Saturday, and the exact same thing happened. Three separate instances spread across the film where the sound dropped out for several seconds. The first time it was preceded by a loud pop, but the other two times it just dropped out.

    The manager was in the theater after, saying someone complained. He didn’t seem to be aware that it might have been intentional.

  17. Huh, I remember something like this happening at the Camera 12 in San Jose. It really got the audience riled up (and it happened at an exciting moment too)…

    I would have chalked it up to equipment problems, but now that I hear this, it reminds me of Belloq from the Lost Ark film:

    “Dr. Jones. Again we see there is nothing you can possess which I cannot take away.”

    Makes me sick.

  18. DRM = Digital Restriction Management

    Because ‘rights’ grant permissions, not restrictions.

  19. How does this method do anything except maybe identify at what theater the piracy was accomplished?

    That’s exactly what it does, and almost certainly the entire point. Like with most other piracy, a big chunk of movie piracy comes from insiders. If you want to get a good recording from a movie in a theater, you’ll want a quiet undisturbed screening room and access to the sound. This usually requires you to know (or be) the projectionist.

    So, if Paramount can identify which theater a pirated copy came from, they have a slightly higher chance of figuring out which projectionist made the copy.

    It’s kind of like the irritating receipt checks at the exits of stores — they’re not there because the store thinks you stole something, but because they’re worried cashiers are stealing with the help of their friends. And just like with the receipt checks, Paramount has decided that the best way to fight internal piracy is by making the experience worse for everyone else.

    It’s a crappy way to do things, but cheaper than actually focusing your efforts on employees. And it only has a downside if you actually care about your customers and want them to enjoy their time.

  20. Great business model, Hollywood! Make the quality of the movie showing so bad that people don’t bother showing up for your next movie and wait for the DVD! And then… erm… blame piracy?

    One of my dearest wishes is that the idiots who run the entertainment industry stop making their products so crappy (DRM, rootkits, region coding, unskippable “you’re a dirty pirate” ads on legit DVDs, etc.). Then, just maybe, people will start buying them again…

  21. Every person who notices this should demand a refund from the theater. maybe when enough theaters lose money they’ll tell paramount to stop this crap and find some other way to ‘protect’ their investment.

  22. I LOVE the theatre. You can’t re-create the social component of the theatre at home. That’s why I’m so bummed about news like this. The sticky floors I can live with and you don’t have to buy the concessions to watch the movie.

    It’s a shame really that so many people want to hole up in their homes and watch movies instead of getting out into the real world and being with other people to experience a movie together. You simply can’t recreate that in the average home.

  23. Why can’t they just insert a single frame of watermark in the movie? Viewers wouldn’t notice it (or barely) but the studio could just as easily track the single frame as an audio dropout, couldn’t they? Or am I missing something?

  24. It would be great if someone started a list of the effected films and theaters so we could boycott them.

  25. Strange, that. I saw the new Indy movie at the Regal in Bowie, MD, and this happened several times. But we did not get a notice on a pre-movie slide or anything of the sort. I just chalked it up to a crappy theater that just doesn’t care if its equipment is malfunctioning. I’ve witnessed this happening in every movie I’ve seen at this Theater… So… This is what happens when there’s only one movie house with 12 screens. Competition is eliminated; Quality goes down; No other competing business left to offer a better experience.

    I’m done. This was the last movie I ever see in a theater. No more cell phone rings. no more high school thugs itching for trouble. No more jabbering fat guy three rows back. No more interactive theater (it IS in PG County after all, and that’s what happens).

    Thank you BB for opening my eyes!

  26. Hmm, so I take it that any pirate who can get ahold of at least two rips from different theatres can produce a product better than the paying customer’s experience.

    Good work guys, really good.

  27. I saw it on Saturday at a local megaplex and experienced about three audio “dropouts.” The audio didn’t drop out completely, but it definitely attenuated to the point that it sounded very faint…It seemed to happen during very bombastic scenes, and I thought it must be some irritatingly pro-active choice to prevent bleeding eardrums during the loud bits.

    Guess I was wrong. It was mean to thwart teh pirates. Heh.

    Well Paramount, enjoy your Pyrrhic victory while it lasts. I’m never going to the theater again.

  28. How does this method do anything except maybe identify at what theater the piracy was accomplished?

    Actually it doesn’t even do that. The pirates are apparently smarter than the studios; they just combine the audio from several theaters to get a complete audio track.

    As others have mentioned, the only thing this does is annoy paying customers, and give them the incentive to get their media illegally. Whoever is advising the movie industry – and whoever is taking that advice – does not have the studio’s best interests at heart.

  29. I think you should demand a refund for watching the steaming pile that is Speed Racer.

  30. Not only does this discourage me from seeing Crystal Skull, it also discourages me from seeing any other movie in the theatres. Sony’ trick of putting root-kits on their audio CD’s had the same effect. I just stopped buying CD’s, because I couldn’t always remember which company screwed things up.

    We’re preaching to the choir here in saying this is incredibly stupid. I’d love to hear a response from the studio or the movie theatres explaining these shenanigans.

    What’s stupid about this is that the experience of going to a big-screen theatre and watching the same movie at home is so different. People who download the movie probably wouldn’t see it in the theatre anyway.

    I suspect that most theatres showing Crystal Skull are probably using digital projection, and that they are less worried about audiences making poor camcorder copies than they are about employees doing the copying. The problem with this “watermarking” is that it is so obvious that it makes it easier to find and to hide.

    It’s just stupid and and a shame that now Indiana Jones is off my list of movies to see in the theatre.

  31. I noticed that the sound cut out at the height of explosions and such when I went to see the movie. It was annoying.

  32. i’m a paramount executive’s official nipple tweaker and i overheard him saying this was done as a part of a larger psych-ops project bent on demoralizing intellectual base of america. what you all have failed to realize is that the entertainment industry is INTENTIONALLY shooting themselves in the foot. it started when they created napster and file sharing as a means to appear incredibly out of touch. now they’re working on alienating the few remaining supporters they have. once they have pushed the entire population of people who don’t buy books because they look pretty beyond outrage to a supersaturated state of apathy, they will unleash their latest creation: the feelies. trust me, it will be worth it and you will gladly give up your privacy rights to experience this version of “i know who killed me”.

  33. I saw it at 9:30am on opening day at Regal Cinemas in Hunt Valley, MD. I did notice that at one point the sound dropped down real low for a little less than a minute. At the time I thought nothing of it other than operator error.

  34. This doesn’t go far enough. They need to blank out the ENTIRE MOVIE — sound + vision — in order to wipe out piracy completely. In fact, they shouldn’t even film the damn thing in the first place. That’ll teach those pirate bastards who want to watch the whole thing.

  35. there are definitely two streaming versions online–presumably low quality, but free–and I’m willing to bet there’s about a hundred seeders on the torrent market, probably in quite high quality. So let’s ask ourselves what was learned here. Or shall we just admit these people will never learn anything?

    P.S. Aliens?

  36. I didn’t notice this at a Regal theater in Raleigh, NC. If it happened, it wasn’t annoying enough for me to notice and remember.

    But seriously, WTF? Let me give you a hint, movie industry: You will make money when it is easy for me to give you my money, and when I’m getting something worth paying for. I rarely go to the theater because a student ticket is $7.50 now (I remember when they were $3, and I’m only 25). I’ll go for major “event” movies, like this one. I don’t torrent movies because I don’t care enough to go through the rigmarole — I have Netflix, I’ll just wait until it comes out on DVD. But I’d pay $5 if it were easy and quick for me to legally download a movie. I’d probably do that a good bit more often than I’d go to the theater to see something. Let’s see, $7.50 every 3-4 months or $5 every month? Which works out to more money?

    And let’s not even talk about how dumb it is that it’s technically illegal for me to rip the DVDs that I paid full price for so that I can put them on my iPhone and watch them at the gym. But that’s a different issue.

  37. The audio drop-outs were annoyingly noticeable at the midnight showing at Seattle’s Cinerama – many groans issued from the crowd each time the sound was dropped. But no explanation was given that I saw or heard.

  38. @26,”You can’t re-create the social component of the theatre at home.”

    No would I want to. The modern Theatre experience is Some yahoo sitting behind and a little to the left of me smacking food, talking(not whispering) through whole scenes, and probably kicking my chair as well.

    At least at home I can pause the movie.


  39. If I owned a theater I’d *start* pirating movies now. First, I’d do a ‘private showing’ of my own to get the video (to ensure that the quality is appealing), and then I’d go across town and make the audio recording at a rival theater.

    Seed early and often, and wait for the fun to start.

  40. Oh, great. Now we’re going to have to endure a OMG! post everytime some conspiracy theorist experiences a glitch at the theater.

  41. This is so enormously short-sighted I’m almost speechless.

    This doesn’t deter piracy. They’ll just take the sounds from another source, possibly a line source and dub it back in. All this does for pirates is throw down a gauntlet of challenge.

    And if they ever attempted this in the UK, where I regularly spend £15 a ticket for Gold Class seats not only would I complain the roof down until my money was refunded they certainly wouldn’t be getting my custom again. I’ve already boycotted the music industry. If they want to make sure I never pay for “product” again, they are certainly proceeding with the right attitude.

    Crippling your product to deter people who have no intention of paying is genius. This just hurts their real customers. Next, they’ll be refusing entry to their customers because they might remember too much about the movie.

    Who has the address of the think tank that generated this crap?

  42. I saw the movie over the weekend and noticed the audio ducking a couple times. Just thought it was something screwy with the theater’s equipment. The movie industry really has no clue how to use the internet for movies, but us internet users do.
    I’m starting to believe the motion picture industry being run a group of 4th grades kids from the 1950’s. They must have been sucked through a wormhole during recess that landed them directly in the middle of an MPAA board meeting. They were quickly heralded as gods and given supreme power over all moviedom.

  43. I saw it at 12:01 at the Regal Dublin Hacienda crossings. I didn’t notice any sound drop offs actually. That said, it is a terrible idea.

  44. @18 …the pirate can have the silence edited out by combining recordings…

    That was my first thought, so do we need to go see the whole movie again somewhere else to hear the bits of movie that were muted out? What if a really significant line gets missed out? To refer to another Lucas movie-> Darth Vader : “Luke, I…….” Luke “Noooooo! [Jumps to his apparent death]” The movie is pretty ruined (You can’t even try to lipread Darth Vader)

    And here’s a hint to someone wanting to hide what cinema they filmed it at… randomly mute sections of the final version you’re about to put on bittorrent. Unless the silent bits hide hiddent ultrasonic messages (again, you can normalise the inaudible high and low frequencies – it’ll even make your file a little smaller) which identify the cinema you’ll probably confuse the issue just by having a dodgy microphone. Either way, it won’t stop piracy.

  45. “I’m starting to believe the motion picture industry being run a group of 4th grades kids from the 1950’s”

    ah, yeah, more or less.

  46. Yes, it’ll be interesting when the film industry and cinemas learn their product isn’t just media, but a particular irreplacable media experience.

    San Francisco’s Sundance Kabuki seems to have figured this out, albeit at painful premiums to the unexpecting consumer. Then again, there are older venues that still offer something unique, and well-priced.

  47. It happened during the red-line-map sequence at the Century 20 El Con Mall in Tucson on Sunday May 25.

    The audio made a lot of digital-glitchy noises before dropping out completely for about a minute. The glitchy noises made me assume it was some kind of high-tech projection bug. If it turns out this was intentional I’m going to be pissed!

  48. So when we say “silenced” or “dropping out” do we mean total silence?

    When I saw IJ it seemed like several channels of the audio dropped at different times. Sometimes no rear sound, sometimes no right, left, front.

    Is this what others experienced or is my theater truly crap?

    Cinemark in Dallas, TX

  49. I went to see it at my local (Canadian) theatre and didn’t notice anything…

    If anything they seem to be playing movies louder these days, effectively drowning out those pesky teenagers.

  50. Interesting Apollo18, I saw the movie on opening day at a 12:50 showing at the Cinerama and there were no audio drop outs at all.

  51. I have an unrelated, but related question. I used to sit in the front row when I went to the movies. Since theaters have gone to digital projection, it seems like films now look like a dot matrix from the first ten rows or so. Anyone else have this experience?

  52. Yeah, I get the ‘dot matrix’ experience too. Nobody I know likes sitting in the front anyway though, so we usually hit up the back rows.

  53. I saw the film at the AMC Theatre in Seattle’s Pacific Place and noticed this problem as well. I have been seeing a lot of SIFF (Seattle International Film Festival) films and there have been lots of projection and sound problems, but I was surprised that a big theater playing a big name film like Indiana on opening weekend would have problems.

    After learning about this… I am no longer surprised.

  54. New anti-piracy message:

    WARNING! Watching this movie is a fine punishable by up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to $250,000. For your enjoyment, and to save us legal hassles from the greedy movie studios, we have blacked out the contents of the audio and video of this movie. Thank you and please return to Regal Cinemas. We hope you enjoy your screen.”

    Soon to be followed by $15 tickets and a $25 dollar snack minimum (small soda and a small popcorn)

    “I know, let’s make people steal complete movies instead of pay for broken ones.”
    “Give that man a promotion!”

  55. From IMDb:

    The increasing use of corn to produce ethanol for cars has sent prices of the staple soaring — not only in the supermarket, but also at the concessions counters at theaters. The AMC theater chain increased the price of its popcorn 25 cents last weekend. Larry Etter, chairman of the National Association of Concessionaires, told ABC News Tuesday that theaters are also having to deal with higher paper pulp prices, which boosts the costs of the paper bags and tubs for the popcorn as well as the cups for sodas. Moreover, higher fuel prices drive up delivery costs. The price rise at the concessions counter comes at a time when many theaters are also raising ticket prices — in some cities to more than $10 each. Since the beginning of the year, the average ticket price has risen 3 percent — on top of last year’s 5 percent rise.

  56. @56 – in my case it was total silence, not proceeded by any kinds of glitchy noises as others have mentioned.

  57. I saw IJ4 in a Regal Cinema in Concord, NH and didn’t notice any dropouts. However, the entire left side of the screen was out of focus until I finally got fed up and told a manager, who fixed it within 30 seconds of me getting back to my seat.

  58. I’ve been working projection at my local theater while I’m going back to school. We are all digital projection (with a 35 mm for indie or older releases) and digital sound and have not had any complaints. I have not seen the entire picture yet but am going tomorrow so it should be interesting to see what happens.

    PS, blame the damn studios on the high ticket prices, for the first three weeks of a movies release the studio’s take up to 90% of the ticket price.

  59. I’ve read that DOD secret reports use slightly different wording for each recipient. If Paramount used something more subtle (e.g. reordering the opening credits or a couple minor shots in an action scene), neither the audience nor pirates would know.

  60. *sputter froth*
    Technical *glitches* are a pet peeve of mine.

    I have been VERY happy with the new digital cinemas. No more film problems that seem to plague actual film. I have noticed the improvement enough to still find the move going experience /almost/ worth the ticket price.

    I saw Indiana Jones in a different theater, on regular film and it was full of sound drops and screen glitches. The bulb / film began to have problems when Indy finds the skill. The scene darkened and blackened (bad print?) until just top of the screen was visible. The problem cleared up once the scene changed (A reel change? Or maybe the projectionist fixed it?) But that really made me determined to only see films in the new digital cinema theaters (I have one near me with 2 digital screen rooms)

    I assumed the audio drop outs were just a symptom of the poor print. But if they were on purpose? *grrrrrr*

    Meh. I have paled on the whole move going experience for the last few years. With increasing prices and increased home theater quality* the “Media Experience” of going out to the movies is the only aspect I apreceate. And if that is made unpleasant… then why bother?

    *Note: I /just/ got a new Blue Ray and HD TV… and to be honest I can BUY the movie cheaper than what it would cost for me and my wife to see it in the theater. So for the rare exception, I would rather invite friends over for a “movie night” than go out for a substandard experience.

  61. Yes, I was at that the Regal Cinema in Dublin, CA to see IJ4 with the family and both saw the signs and noticed some short dropouts. The dropouts weren’t any worse than the usual interruptions from chatty folks in the audience.

    Alas, this kind of “anti-piracy theatre” (ala “security theatre”) is just the thing to annoy the people paying all that money to go see movies at the theaters in the first place. It certainly hasn’t made any dent in the speed of the movie being pirated.

    I hate to say it but I get the feeling there’s a class-action lawsuit in there somewhere for a motivate law firm. Not that that is going to help viewers any.

  62. I’m not saying any of this is impossible. But at the same time, I wonder if a theater manager has found a way to not have to go through the hassle of returning a defective copy… Tell the audience they are all like that. Or maybe a way to blame an equipment glitch on Paramount. Sadly the film industry is idiotic enough that I cannot rule the manager telling the truth.

  63. I work as a projectionist, and I have been showing Indiana Jones for the past week in a non-Regal theater.

    Paramount did not instruct us to silence parts of the movie. All of our copies of the film play with uninterrupted sound.

    In order to catch pirates, studios embed red dots in key frames of the film that will flash for a fraction of a second. If these dots are seen on a pirated copy the studio can trace the film back to the exact copy that was pirated. This is the only way that the film should be adjusted to stop pirates.

    The few studios executives that I have talked to about piracy (I should note that I’m pro file sharing) have told me that some of the industry is finally coming around and they are using new technology, such as Real3D, in order to attract ticket buyers. To most, it is obvious that the metal detectors, night vision goggles, and other KGB style antics are cutting down on audience numbers. Of course there are still some that think that treating movie goers as thugs is the way to go. I would suggest patronizing theaters that treat you, and the art they are exhibiting, with respect.

  64. Paramount did not instruct us to silence parts of the movie.

    Wasn’t the point that individual copies of the film have pre-programmed sound defects for tracking purposes? They could scarcely expect the projectionists to do it by hand. Especially since there isn’t a projectionist controlling each theater any more.

  65. @56 & 65: depending when audio is muted, it may or may not create glitchy sounds. It’s a little complicated, but think of a sinewave. If the audio cuts out when the wave is at 0, it’ll drop out without any other noticeable sounds. If the audio is not, it’ll create an immediate drop which can result in an audible “pop”. The normal way to get around this is incredibly quick fade-ins or fade-outs – if they’re not even doing that, they’re even stupider than I thought.

  66. I just saw Indy last night and I never heard Audio breaks in it, but I DID see video black outs through out the whole film. It was really annoying!

  67. Saw Indy on Friday nite in Woburn, MA.

    No warnings of any sort, but I remember at least twice when the sound dropped off for several seconds. No dialog was lost, but I do remember wondering how the reel got damaged this early in the run…

    Finding out it was intentional and not a glitch ticks me off and makes me want a partial refund.

    Normal wear-and-tear is understandable, but I shouldn’t have to pay full price if they’re intentionally delivering a downgraded experience.

  68. @72. Interesting. So you’re saying they already embed dots? So the silence thing wouldn’t be necessary.

    Could this just be some FUD perhaps? Maybe the theater in question has a flakey sound system and just wanted to make up an excuse?

    And seriously the sound drops would only have to last a fraction of a second to be effective (like dots in a single frame). My bet is that you’d not even notice them.

  69. it’s certainly pleasurable kicking big studio ass, the gods know they need it, but in the absence of a whistleblower or a technological forensic study I myself would be inclined to chalk it up to shitty sound systems in theaters skimping on maintenance due to low ticket sales due to a lack of good films being made.

  70. So first the fascist no-cameras policy, and now they’re intentionally degrading the quality of their product.

    The logical next step is to bar paying customers from even entering the cinema.

  71. No warnings of any sort, but I remember at least twice when the sound dropped off for several seconds. No dialog was lost, but I do remember wondering how the reel got damaged this early in the run…

    Think about it – several seconds? That would be downright dumb and overkill. 1/10th of a second would do it. If the sound dropped out for “several seconds”, that was a problem at the theater, not on purpose.

    Go ask them (the theater) – see what they say.

  72. They do embed dots and have been doing so for years. I guess I’m weird because I notice them every time, and hardly anyone I know sees them, but they drive me crazy. They’re almost always inserted into frames with big white areas so they stand out really well, which I guess makes them easier to find for the people tracking down the piracy, but also harder for me to ignore.

  73. @64; A 25c increase in the price of popcorn due to materials cost? That’s ridiculous. Popcorn is 10% material cost to begin with, the rest labor and profit. A $3.50 bag of popcorn can’t have $0.15 of corn in it. The corn is probably worth slightly more than the paper bag, if that. No, they’re spreading out their increased costs of everything else as much as they can. Raising ticket prices $0.25 would have been harder for moviegoers to swallowOW!OW!OW!

  74. I sense a strange tingling. As if a Snopes destined urban legend is forming about me as I type! I could just puke in a bag from the excitement.

  75. Lucas already has the winning formula for keeping people from pirating his movies – make sure they suck ass.

  76. @84: Oops, my mistake. I scanned and thought it was a reference to another article I read about movie popcorn prices going up due to corn price increases. Lets’ see if I can find that one…

  77. If anyone wants to read more about this there is a lengthy technical discussion on the website.

    The owner designed the site to thwart direct linking to contents so go to and choose forums at upper left. Click past the disclaimer, go to “Film Handler’s Forum” and look for a thread called “Audio CAP on Indy”

    If the thread is not visible you can do a search OR paste this link into the window you have the site open in.

    This link will not work directly from here as it will just take you to the front page.

  78. Coldspell: Thanx for supercool info.
    “Markers” like Warhol used to use with ‘friends’, variations on tales so that when they popped up in the gossip columns he’d know who spilled the beans to the columnist.
    LOL Warhol & DOD: who thought it up first?

  79. They’re not going nearly far enough. I say that they should make the whole experience so terrible that nobody will want to even see it, let alone pirate it.

  80. A professional projectionist’s forum (Film-Tech) reports curiosity over glaring periodic anomalies in the soundtrack as they visually inspect the INDIANA JONES prints while assembling them for showing.

    They report seeing periodic patterns of what looks like noise or some odd frequency overlaying the track several times in one or more reels.

    If the theater has its sound system set up right, such a thing SHOULD send the fancy digital sound system to its “fallback” analog reading of the audio, but many theaters are set up by people who just don’t care for the details, so it might cause lengthy dropouts.

    Everyone is guessing that the placement (timing) of the glitches would identify which theater a pirate got his source material from.

    There’s already a system (called “cap code”, and referred to as “crap code” by many) of tagging individual prints? It consists of a pattern of dots that show up in one frame of film at intervals. But I believe anyone with a good video editing system could scrub that code out, if a pirate cared enough to bother.

  81. Nothing like that when I went to see it, but I would use this as grounds to argue a refund.

  82. I saw Indiana Jones and the AARP Sunday night at the AMC Barry Road in KCMO following ConQuesT. There were a number of sound dropoffs, but they paled in comparison to the colossal colostomy bag that was the film itself.

  83. there’s one way you can boycott this and that is to ask a for a refund when you leave the theater. i believe that such significantly noticable drops in sound are enough to warrant a ‘bad’ movie experience worthy of a refund. if you have a complaint about sound and picture there is no reason why you should not get your money back. it’s not like you didn’t like it. if you’re being punished as a paying customer than you might as well not be paying!

  84. I’m a projectionist at a theatre in Philly and we’ve been having sound complaints with Indy all weekend. If it turns out this is true I’m gonna be mighty pissed off.

  85. I call bullshit on the part of the cinema – I saw Indy the other day and the sound was fine.

  86. Indy in Poland had sound drops, and I don’t think it had anything to do with preventing piracy. And the picture looked faded a couple of times. But I don’t mind that, I guess I’m used to it as part of the cinema experience. I’m not going to boycott digital copies, but I enjoy a movie more when the splices are just a fraction off, the subtitles aren’t crisp, there’s scratches on the film and crackling in the sound. You like what you’re used to.

  87. In Sheepshead Bay on Saturday I do remember a moment where the music abruptly stopped. Also, the projection was really crappy and the screen would be fuzzy in places, so now I’m wondering if they did that on purpose.

  88. Watermarks are supposed to be imperceptible, so only sophisticated pirates will know what to look for and how to make it unreadable. Audible silences would be unacceptable, but maybe the idea is to only drop a millisecond here and a millisecond there, and the notice is meant as a “fuck you!” to Paramount and at the same time an ‘ass-covering’ strategy (so you can’t expect to get a refund)? Well, no idea. Would be great if this story could be updated when more information becomes available.

  89. I did notice that the soundtrack cut out at least once during the film, it was for a fraction of a second and did not really affect my viewing. However it does seem a bit of a dumb way to prevent piracy.

    Unless we are going to have to show id when buying tickets. Then maybe they could use some fancy algorithms to locate the seating position of the perp from the pirated footage.

    DVD rips are better anyhow :)

  90. I’ve seen it three times & haven’t noticed any sound drop-out. I did get bugged by a theater goon about bringing electronic devices into the place. I was unable to convince him that it would be impossible to record the movie on a Game Boy.

  91. Why is it not possible to create a VISUAL marker in discreet sections of frames? Why mess with the sound?

    These idiots should simply price their product more competitively, eg $5 for a dvd, and stop using their legal power to push govts to support their market-distorted, excessive charges.

    It’s not like the movies themselves are ever that great.

    For a free market economy, the US is showing some remarkable restrictions – stand up and fight! Oh, how the founding fathers would blush!

  92. I went to see the movie on the opening weekend with my girlfriend at a cinema in Brooklyn, NY. At the initial Paramount logo (up to about the scene where the teenagers’ car runs over the prarie dog’s burrow), one scene during the chase through the Amazon, and when Marion ran the motorboat/car into the river, the sound cut off for about 5-10 seconds. A few people in the theatre started complaining about that, and everyone initially thought that it was faulty equipment that was to blame.

    Now to read this, I am disgusted. People who paid money to enjoy a movie instead have to deal with this bullshit from the movie companies themselves. And what for? To “deter” pirates? The movie companies are going too far with this already, and I refuse to give them any more of my money if this is how people who simply want fair use are going to be treated.

  93. I’m assuming that the Hollywood execs figure its the THEATER EMPLOYEES that do the bulk of the pirating. (and they’re probably right…)

    By tagging each theater, they can identify which projectionists are working at the time and thereby ferret out the pirates. They probably figure that if those people are permanently banned from ever working in a theater again, they’ll shut down the source of pirate prints.

    Won’t work, but I can see what they’re trying to do…

  94. If this is true, then its a great idea- in order to hunt down those pirating your film, punish the people paying to see your product legally- GENIUS-

    Note to Paramount: your films will always be pirated, but you still manage to pull $269 million at the box office, so why not treat the people bankrolling that 269 million with some respect.

  95. I can’t believe people still go to the movies.

    I mean, what with the torrents and the big-screen TVs, who needs to?

    I understand the experience of going to the thee ah tah, but with a decent TV and stereo you can get all the good parts of it at home — minus the sticky floors, the abusively high prices, and having to share the experience with hundreds of jabbermouths and lunkheads, who may or may not be stoned and/or packing heat. Also, you can smoke and have cocktails if you want. And eat something better than $7 popcorn and stale candy. An altogether more civilized and relaxing experience, if you ask me.

    I maybe go once a year — for the GF. So it’s not really about the movies, it’s about relationship maintenance.

    The last time I went to the movies regularly was whenever “Pulp Fiction” came out, in what, ’94? ’95? And I’m not even some young whippersnapper, I’m old! I’m in my 30s! I still listen to vinyl! So I fail to see why the mp3/Wii generation would even bother, when they’re totally plugged into the whole downloading thing.

    Really, who’s bankrolling Hollywood, anyway? Old people without DVD players? Flyover country? I’m pretty sure the aesthetes and cineastes who insist on watching movies on the big screen aren’t doing so for product like “Indiana Jones …” and its ilk.

    I am puzzled. Hollywood and its lackeys keep making dumb move after dumb move. Why is it still around?

  96. …sound cut off for about 5-10 seconds. A few people in the theatre started complaining about that, and everyone initially thought that it was faulty equipment that was to blame.

    There is no way in hell they would cut the sound out for “5-10 seconds” as a marker to catch piracy.

  97. Yeah, these sound cutouts are probably just shoddy equipment and setups in the theaters themselves, a 5 second drop is excessive. But you should still be angry because of it, you pay $10 to see a movie ($20 if you bought popcorn) it should be a GODDAMN PERFECT experience!

  98. I’m from Dublin, Ireland and if they tried it here – especially during Indiana – they would have been ripped apart. Imagine it, an army of irate Irish women devoted since puberty to Dr Jones, reliving their adolescence, provoked by this very silly “watermark”!

  99. I saw it in Nairobi last weekend and can report the same repeated, 5-10 second sound outages at different points during the screening. I’ve seen plenty of other movies in the same venue, and at least two in the same actual theater, and haven’t experienced any sound problems before. This is a relatively new theater with high-end equipment (by Kenyan standards, anyway).

  100. This happened in Nashville – saw it at the Greenhills Regal – about 20 SECONDS! took you right out of the movie – people hooted (took place inside the Area 51 warehouse)
    if this is due to Paramount…oh man.

  101. First it was fractions of a second, then a few seconds, 5-10, now we’re up to TWENTY SECONDS! Based on trends, I expect reports of THE ENTIRE FILM BEING BLANK within ONE WEEK!

  102. GerCelt

    [citation required] :)

    I can’t see them not doing it there too. In fairness, Ireland is probably not one of the leading cam sources for piracy.

  103. last night I saw a car – with licence tags I traced to Paramount – stop outside the local orphanage at 1:00AM. An hour later it pulled up at a local luxury hotel and these executive types got out. I sneaked a peak through the side window; AND THE CAR WAS EMPTY!

  104. Same sound outages occurred at the AMC in Santa Monica too. It seemed to happen at loud moments as some have reported above. Seems like a stupid way to track piracy, but a widespread glitch in a mass-distributed product like this seems hard to believe too. There are so many levels of quality control, I can’t believe these prints would go out as-is.

  105. This is why the theater system is going the way of AM radio. Nobody wants to walk on sticky floors to sit in a broken seat. Hell you need to take out a loan if you want a large popcorn and a box of Snow Caps.

    If you absolutely must go to see a movie in a theater, well good luck, I’m going to wait six months until the DVD or Blu-Ray disc come out.

  106. So far, all of the referenced I’ve found on the web of the intentional silencing to fight piracy all refer to a Boing Boing article (this one), so this is looking more like an Urban Legend.

    If there are signs at all these theaters, why hasn’t anyone posted a picture? C’mon, pirates, don’t wimp out now.

  107. I saw it yesterday in the real Dublin (in Ireland) and the screen went black for a few seconds, twice. Thinking about it now, it must have been the same kind of sabotage. I’m pretty sure the sound didn’t drop out though. Either way, how annoying is that?

  108. After reading the Film-Tech forum for a bit, I see that this was intentional from Paramount, at least on the film (35mm) prints. Not sure about digital, since all the discussion seems to focus on Reel 5 of the movie.

    They didn’t think anybody would notice, unless the movie theater’s sound system was somehow not in perfect alignment. Kinda like releasing an operating system and assuming everyone has a brand new computer with the latest drivers, I guess.

  109. I watched Indy today at the theater I work at, all our screens are showing digital, and there was no sound dropout at all. So far it looks like it is limited to the 35 mm prints.

  110. As a Regal projectionist in pdx, I noticed the sound drops when I was initially screening the movie a couple weeks ago. At the time, I thought “oh, I should check the sound heads afterwards” and promptly forgot about it.

    On the prints I’m running, the sound drops down about six times for half a second, mostly in the second half of the movie.

    Our theater was also never told about such happenings, and this is the first I’ve heard about it. Doesn’t surprise me, though. Studios do most things they can to mess with us. It would have been nice to know, though, since I thought it was a problem I could fix and have been stressing out about messing up the prints.

    And I’ve noticed a few people have noted several second screen blackouts as well. Those are probably the projectionists fault (leaving part of the leader/tail that frames each reel attached will do this).

    I feel compelled to say something about general theater stuff, too, but this is neither the time nor the place to discuss digital vs 35, why theaters are run the way they are or anything else. But know that I generally side with good presentation.

  111. What Paramount appears to have done is add a sort of audio barcode to the film which would identify the specific print. Said signature seems to exist only on the analog soundtracks, so a blip has been inserted to drop the film out of digital for those three spots (during the first machine gun shots in the truck chase, when Cate’s car flies over Indy’s at the end of the chase, and as the tree flaps back up and smacks the cliff wall, all about 5 minutes from each other). The dropout lasts about three seconds, and if one’s analog and digital outputs have matched levels, these should be almost undetectable – such is the audio chaos of those moments. Most theaters do not have those levels matched (with DTS it almost cannot be done), so the sound likely gets quieter, though again, they’re extreme scenes. The theater cited in the article probably has not realized that at some point in the recent past their analog sound has just gone out, so when the digital drops, they get silence. They actually can do something about it, but they probably won’t find that out until the next time their digiatal system goes altogether wonky, and they find themselves running something in complete silence.

    Most of what the studios have done to ‘prevent piracy’ is foolish, usually causing great annoyance to the viewers, and in no way inhibiting the piracy. But they’re the kinds of things which look good on the papers a mid-level exec passes to a high level exec to show that something is being done.

  112. i JUST saw IJATKOTCS this afternoon at the Cinemark in Webster, TX, and at the beginning of the climactic scene in the temple/spaceship there was loud (painful to the eardrums) pop, then no sound for several seconds, then the sound was really really loud for a bit, then a softer pop, then the sound was back to normal.

    now, as a person with two jobs, neither of which is video piracy, who just wants to enjoy her first free afternoon in three weeks by enjoying a movie with her husband, i was SERIOUSLY PISSED. after the movie i asked to see the manager, and when he showed up i started to explain about the the sound glitch. he said “oh, let me explain, that was put there on purpose by Lucasfilms…” i told him that i knew what it was and that i would like my money back for our tickets. i told him that i knew he had no control over this, but that i expected him to pass my complaint on to the general manager that i would not have my moviegoing experience ruined because of fears of piracy. and i got our tickets refunded.

    so, my point is, ASK FOR YOUR MONEY BACK. customer complaints may go unheeded, but management will notice it when they lose enough money. if enough people politely demand refunds every time this happens, it will trickle back up to the studios eventually. as consumers, the only power we have it to give or withhold our money.

    it’s a shame, too, because other than the intentional sound glitch, i really enjoyed the movie.

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