Pirates Of The Interwebs

Puss in Boots + Humpty Dumpty

Hollywood says Internet piracy is on the rise, that it’s killing established media—especially the movie industry—and the livelihood of content creators who are increasingly under threat by rampant file sharing of copyrighted material over peer-to-peer networks.
A 2010 study commissioned by NBC/Universal, entitled “An Estimate of Infringing Use of the Internet”, suggests copyright piracy accounts for 25% of global internet traffic.
In the United States the Obama administration has pledged to fight Web piracy and says downloading hurts the economy by stifling sales, thereby diminishing jobs. (@sandoCNETCNET)

I’d like to paint a different picture of the so-called struggling movie industry, at least up here in Canada.

Last Saturday night our family took in an early showing of Puss In Boots 3D to a packed house at our local theatre. It was standing room only. Originally our plan was to hit the 5pm show but it was completely sold out apart from 5 or 6 remaining seats, in the front row of course. No big deal. Luckily there was a 6pm showing and we were fine to wait in (what quickly became a huge) line for the 6pm show.
After popcorn, drinks, and tickets (2 adults, one child) our evening ran well over 60 bucks. Not including the 10 bucks that systematically vanished from my wife’s purse to fuel our son’s insatiable appetite for the prehistoric video arcade games while we waited. (go figure, our house has a PS3) —but that’s another story.

Once we finally got in to our seats and settled we were treated to what felt like a solid 1/2 hour of “pre-show” features and trailers. This got me thinking, do movie industry executives actually realize how difficult it is to keep a 5-year old child sitting down for what approaches a 3-hour stretch? Maybe it’s just me but movies, especially children’s animated flicks, seem to be getting longer and longer lately. Clearly this is Peter Jackson’s fault. The LOTR movies were hugely successful and clocked in at well over 3-hours in length. Perhaps this green lit the movie studios to start breaking the standard 90-minute length en masse. I imagine many directors would argue the extended time is necessary to convey their full cinematic narrative. Yes, I’m all for that. Just give us an intermission pee break please.

Sorry. Really going off on a tangent here.

Anyway, our movie was great. We get out of the theatre around 8pm and begin to head through the main concessions area. There we were greeted to one of the largest swarms of moviegoers I’d ever seen. We literally couldn’t get out to the parking lot without elbowing our way through the massive clamoring crowd of people.

What the heck is going on we wondered? Yeah, it’s Saturday night, but this is ridiculous. You’d think a lot of these younger kids in the line-ups buying tickets would rather be at home downloading movies off torrent sites —maybe to save a bit for their school tuition. But they’re not —at least not in our town. Packs of kids, families, couples on dates —was there nothing new on Netflix this weekend? Had the last Blockbuster in our neighbourhood finally bitten the dust?

The point I’m trying to make here is that our local movie theatre is always packed with people —people who spent upwards of $12 per movie ticket.

The idea people (young and old) have come to prefer staying home to download rather than going out to the movies is complete nonsense.
Going out to see a movie is fun, even if you have to (gasp) fork out a bit of your hard earned dough for the big screen experience.

Downloading, illegal or otherwise, doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. But the movie industry seems to be alive and well up here in Canada, able to coexist with downloading, despite the perception it’s hurting box office sales.

DVD sales on the other hand —well, that’s another story.