Avengers box-office success shows pre-release piracy isn't necessarily the kiss of death


29 Responses to “Avengers box-office success shows pre-release piracy isn't necessarily the kiss of death”

  1. tomrigid says:

    Complaining about piracy is one of the ways of optimizing it. Put another way: if you made a huge movie and nobody bothered to pirate it, why should I bother to see it?

    • loroferoz says:

      Maybe because it was good. There are many “small” movies I would like to see, and I grieve that they are not “pirated” enough.

      • tomrigid says:

        But huge movies are not, by default, ‘good’.  They have enormous advantages in the marketplace, though, because of their advertising and distribution, and those advantages drive the piracy market as well. Pirates don’t want to pay for advertising — they are piggybacking on the inherent notoriety of the films they choose to pirate. This correlation between the incipient popularity of a film in the legitimate marketplace and the perceived demand for a film in the pirate marketplace certainly signals something to the producers, distributors, and consumers, though what (if anything) it says about the quality of the film I really don’t know.

        Shorter version: if they pirate a film like The Avengers, it means nothing; if they do not, if means something, and not something good. For smaller films without the inherent advantages of advertising and distribution, none of this applies.

        • loroferoz says:

          I wholly agree with you.  Sorry if I did not see that you meant about the film: huge budget AND nobody pirated it.

        • penguinchris says:

          Pirates don’t want to pay for advertising — they are piggybacking on the inherent notoriety of the films they choose to pirate.

          You’re making an assumption that internet pirates are motivated by profit (I guess?) – which isn’t true.

          • tomrigid says:

            You’re making an assumption that internet pirates are motivated by profit

            All pirates are motivated by profit. They call it booty. It’s not always money, but it’s always good.

  2. digi_owl says:

     Just as likely that it is now on sale as cheap DVDs in various parts of the world where a official DVD will cost several weeks salary.

  3. $6143719 says:

    Yeah, make better movies and people will watch it. Stop blaming box office bombs because of piracy.

    Watched it twice in a non 3D version btw.

  4. Baldhead says:

    pre- release piracy is a bit like having a single on the radio before being released for sale. makes people want to pay for it (if it’s any good that is)

  5. Jason Carl says:

    I’d just prefer not to consume the work of companies that want to get into a tizzy over piracy, pirated or otherwise. I imagine the weekend that The Avengers opened I likely read my book, listened to non-commercial radio, and enjoyed myself completely. 

    • marilove says:

      I am so very, very impressed by your perfect consumer habits, internet stranger.  Tell me more. I assume you lack a TV, hate e-readers, and never go outside, so as to avoid all advertising. If not, well, sorry, you’re just not indie enough.

      • zarray says:

        Also I assume he uses a teletext like browser as to avoid any flash content and facebook posts.

      • Traska says:

         Clearly, a perfect consumer liked things that weren’t mainstream before liking things that aren’t mainstream became mainstream, so he doesn’t like things that aren’t mainstream anymore he… wait, let me start over… cramping…

  6. ocatagon says:

    Why would anyone that’s planning to see it in the theatre watch a crappy camcorder download?

    • marilove says:

      I could understand if it was just a comedy or something, but this is the type of movie that does better on the big screen.  But I know people who do this.  I don’t understand, either.

      • ocatagon says:

        My only guess is they’re checking to see if the movie’s worth paying for – so this kind of piracy only hurts bad movies. Then again, even bad movies have been leaked and still did great box office, like Hulk and Wolverine.

  7. Possible lesson for Hollywood to derive from this:
    You can maximize profits by either:

    a) hiring people who can write intelligently and well, and actually care about the subject matter/characters


    b) continue to hire hacks to direct films based on toys and boardgames (in Shitty Post-Conversion 3D!), and CONTINUE TO FIGHT THE SCOURGE OF PIRACY TOOTH AND NIAL.

    Probably b, then.

    • penguinchris says:

      I’m not sure if you mean to imply otherwise, but Hollywood did actually do your option a in the case of The Avengers (though not for most of the preceding films introducing the individual characters), and that resulting in “maximized profits” is probably an understatement!

      On the other hand, I saw The Avengers on the Friday it opened, in the afternoon (a little while after schools let out). I sat next to a kid, maybe 10 years old, and his dad. They had interesting reactions/discussions about the trailers that played before the film – which was nice to hear (smart kid) until the trailer for Battleship played. That was the one the kid was most excited about, and both he and his dad agreed that they’ve got to see it as soon as it comes out.

      But, less dishearteningly, there’s an obvious trend in Hollywood the past few years where they are actually trying to make good stuff. It’s apparently finally clear to them that the summer blockbusters that nobody cares about after a couple months aren’t going to generate huge guaranteed profits any longer compared to the similarly-large-budget films that are well-made and which create a huge, long-lasting fan following. 

      Examples: Nolan’s Batman series (and Inception by the same director), about 1/3 of the superhero movies that have come out since Spiderman (up to and including The Avengers), LOTR, Harry Potter… lots more I can’t think of off the top of my head.

      There are “bad” examples of those types of films as well, of course – but the ones that continue to make profits long after release are the ones that are very well made. So there should be an obvious incentive there to do things right, but obviously nobody’s surprised it took Hollywood execs so long to figure that out.

  8. xzzy says:

    Too bad the “pirates are killing us” rhetoric has worked so well. They’ve managed to get a lot of really  bad laws pushed through and bullied their way into winning a whole bunch of settlements. The business model has been proven and no amount of proof that piracy is not hurting sales is going to change their mind.

    That ship has sailed, options are to either go along for the ride or stop buying their product.

    • phuzz says:

      “That ship has sailed”
      I’m sure there’s a great joke about pirates in there, but I’m too hungry to think of one right now

  9. There’s just one thing I regret in Avengers, it’s shown in 3D only in my town. The format gives my right eye a feeling like glowing warm in the first 15 minutes, and troughout the first 45-50 minutes everything looks like a toy miniature filmed with a tilt&shift camera, and it seems slightly flickery. I’d like to see the movie a second time, but right, but I can’t, it’s only shown in 3D…


  10. Thad Boyd says:

    I caught a prerelease screening and they made us all take our cell phones back to our cars, and even wanded us on the way in to make sure we didn’t still have them.  Because I guess they were really concerned that someone would post a cellphone recording of a 3D movie to the Internet.

    Out of curiosity I checked the next morning to see if anyone had managed to sneak a camera into a screening and post the movie online.

    Of course they had.

    On the plus side, it’s the only time this century I’ve been to a movie where nobody had a damn phone.

  11. rtresco says:

    As the last sentence in the excerpt says, it just means nobody wants to watch a crappy cam release anymore. I suspect different download numbers if a DVD Screener copy was out there.

  12. Frederik says:

    Even if it was a full HD quality downlaod, I still would have gone to the cinema to see it. Make great movies by talented people and I will pay to get the big screen experience and then possibly pay again to own it for home viewing if it’s really great.

  13. Jellodyne says:

    Internet piracy is a promotional campaign for a good movie, but a kiss of death for a bad one. That’s the lesson. Make good stuff, be rewarded. Of course the studios hate the idea of not being able to cram garbage down our throats by advertising the hell out of it. They hate that the word gets out so fast on what is a stinker. Bad for them, but good for us.

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