Why Movie Piracy IS Bad (And What To Do About It)

Published 4 years ago by , Updated June 4th, 2014 at 10:09 am,

hbo header Why Movie Piracy IS Bad (And What To Do About It)

We here at  Screen Rant recently took notice of a post over at Shock Til You Drop referring to a Twitter-based message from Rhett Reese, writer of the recent horror/comedy  Zombieland, in which Reese claimed that a Zombieland sequel is now a questionable endeavor, largely due to the film’s current status as “the most pirated movie on bit torrent.”

Here are the numbers behind that statement: Zombieland‘s current worldwide earnings – according to Box Office Mojo – approximate to about $85 million, more than tripling the movie’s $23.6 million production budget. Looking at figures like that, a sequel should be a no-brainer, right?

If only it was that simple…

Here’s the message that Reese posted on his Twitter page:

“Zombieland currently the most pirated movie on bit torrent. Over one million downloads and counting.”

That tweet was quickly followed by this ominous statement:

“Beyond depressing. This greatly affects the likelihood of a Zombieland 2.”

The bottom line: it only matters to certain degree that Zombieland earned triple its production budget; when you factor in marketing in promotion, that margin gets a lot slimmer and really, in the end, studios watch the much-lauded bottom line to measure how well their films have done. To guarantee a Zombieland 2, Sony was no doubt looking for Zombieland 1 to crack the triple-digit millions – a feat the film should’ve easily accomplished, if those one million people sitting at their computers had decided to drop 7-12 bucks to see the film in theaters, instead of 7-12 minutes downloading it illegally.

And now the fate of Zombieland 2 hangs in the balance, and that just SUCKS.

INDISPUTABLE EVIDENCE OF WRONGDOING

The movie piracy debate isn’t new. Since someone first came up with the bright idea of hooking up two VCRs to record their rented videotapes, movie piracy has been a rampant crime. With the Internet and digital filming/editing came the chance to get a movie in one’s hands before said movie ever even made it into theaters. I highly doubt that many (if any) of us can claim 100% angelic behavior if pressed about our history with illegal downloads (or streaming services), but I think this Zombieland case is one where we are now seeing clear, indisputable evidence of the damage that piracy can cause.

dvd piracy 03b Why Movie Piracy IS Bad (And What To Do About It)

And yes, we’ve already heard all the “reasonable” arguments for piracy – in fact, we here at Screen Rant hosted an epic debate about the subject just this past spring, when a early, rough-cut of X-Men Origins: Wolverine was rampantly pirated by the online community. Our stance was and is this: “We at Screen Rant will never support this kind of behavior…” Stealing is stealing (or so WE think), no matter how hard you want to argue the point.

To be fair, here are the most comment arguments for piracy: Movies are too expensive these days; lack of etiquette amongst movie audiences can ruin the theatrical experience; movie marketing is often so misleading that it could be considered stealing; or (my personal fav) the time-tested “I’m just one person, I’m not hurtin’ anybody,” defense. We’ve heard it all…

IMHO, the bottom line is that most often, people pirate movies they want to see – or, at the very least, movies they “kinda want to see” (read: see, but not pay to see). But no matter how they try to quantify it, some degree of desire or interest must exist for people to even bother downloading a film. Of the percentage of people who do choose to illegally download a flick, a certain percentage (sometimes over 50% I’d say) actually enjoy the film – they reap the pleasure of a good movie without ever rewarding those who worked so hard to entertain them. Doesn’t sound fair, does it?

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Worse yet: if you do enjoy a film like Zombieland, don’t you want to see Zombieland 2 get made? Of course you do. But how will that happen if the movie doesn’t make enough money to convince the studio suits that a sequel is worth making??? Your movie ticket money isn’t just throwaway capital – often it is the measuring stick for how the ever-shifting landscape of cinema will shape itself next. If studios don’t think films like Zombieland are what audiences want (And we do! Really, we do!) then what we’re going to get instead is something we DON’T want. And if I have to watch eight more Saw movies because of some misinterpreted low profits caused by piracy, needless to say, I’m going to be PO’d!

Of course, the piracy issue isn’t going to just vanish, so what can we do to make both movie goers and movie makers equally happy in the future?

Keep reading pg. 2…

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TAGS: zombieland

252 Comments

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  1. Arguing that the money I’d pay to go watch or legally download or a stream a movie is helping the producers assess its worth thus affecting and shaping the movies industry future is just stupid.. first of all, it isn’t the money a movie makes that matters, at least not alone, there’s critics reviews, and viewers opinions and ratings, and awards and nominations and all that, I mean they’d be just stupid not to make Zombieland 2 after the crap loads of publicity they gained thanks to us illegally downloaders.
    Even if we assume money is what matters, fair enough since the world is pretty much driven by money, then we should also note that all movies _except record-breakers like Zombieland_ are pirated and downloaded illegally by an almost consistent amount of people who want to watch movies or want to be entertained without having to pay, or simply cannot actually pay and can barely afford Internet connection they pirate things through, then the percentage of people who pay is also pretty much consistent, therefore still providing the studios with the knowledge they need to make “future-shaping decisions”, and still have millions upon millions upon millions if they make a good movie.
    Oh, and the stealing and wrong and right argument is just silly that I won’t bother replying to it. yes, some people consider the morality of their online activities, and so is their right.. and I just don’t, and so is my right, unless you’re the producer or the police of course.

  2. there’s this guy on Craigslist and he sells downloads of anime to your hard drive and charges you 15 to 20 dollars per season. this guy puts up ads daily I have flag them numerous times this guy makes me mad because I’m a legitimate seller of DVDs and can’t get hardly anything, my question is how do you turn this person in to fbi, they leave their phone number on the ad, and this guy is it hard to find on the internet.

  3. People really don’t pirate crappy theatrical copies of movies. The majority of all pirating is done on dvd and blu-ray copies due to the severely higher quality of the picture and audio. Not to mention you shouldn’t blame pirating for the lack of a “Zombieland 2″. You should blame the lack of a Zombieland 2 on HOW THE HECK CAN YOU MAKE A ZOMBIELAND 2??? It was a standalone movie with nowhere left to go at the end. No one has any sympathy over the fact that people like you are brainwashed enough to want a second, watered-down version of the same movie that was only marginally good in the first place. If I’m wrong then I’m sorry, but tell me how it’s possible to make a Zombieland 2 after their shallow characters were resolved due to twinkies and clowns?

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