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Cam Release be Damned, Dark Knight Smashes Records
July 20, 2008
Thomas Mennecke
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The Dark Knight, the follow-up to Batman Begins, scored big with the largest opening night and weekend. Its Friday gross topped nearly $68 million, while the early weekend estimate has the Dark Knight earning $155.3 million. Batman’s impressive performance helped the box office nudge past 2007’s record breaking year by 0.2%.

Thanks to tight security, The Dark Knight avoided a prerelease like the Hulk, Attack of the Clones, or Revenge of the Sith. However, a cam did surface one day after its theatrical release. The quality of is reportedly typical of a cam, complete with coughing, laughing, and silhouettes of people moving about.

The Dark Knight’s massive opening weekend speaks volumes about people’s willingness to spend if the experience is worth the money. The dichotomy of file-sharing’s impact is clear when we look at the movie and music industry. Nearly 10 years after the launch of Napster, the music industry has struggled to maintain control over the fate of its intellectual property. Even if P2P and file-sharing were eradicated tomorrow, Apple has supplanted brick and mortar companies as the largest retailer of music. The big four now find themselves negotiating with a company that 10 years ago was struggling to stay relevant.

When movie file-sharing became increasingly mainstream around 2001 and 2002, it seemed certain the digital revolution would damage the movie industry in the same manner suffered by the music industry. At this time, broadband became cheaper and more widely available, and thanks to simplistic file-sharing programs like Kazaa, downloading a movie became commonplace. But fast forward to 2008: the movie industry is posting record revenue, while the music industry continues to see CD sales plunge and overall revenue remains weak. Digital sales may eventually offset this adjustment period, leading to greater prosperity in the future.

The movie industry doesn’t have to wait, as their transition to the digital age has gone much smoothly. The MPAA has not eradicated file-sharing, nor have they sued countless individuals. Instead they’ve entered into agreements with BitTorrent and held off attacking their customers, and so far, things seem to be working out well. In 2007, the movie industry grew 5.4% from 2006 with revenue topping $9.6 billion. The record setting year prompted many to question the music industry’s claim that piracy was hurting sales – however it should be noted the cost of movie production has increased dramatically.

Records continue to be broken by Hollywood regardless of prerelease, cam release, or continued file-sharing. It seemed that a theater experience insulated the movie industry from piracy, yet even in this age of theater-like High Definition entertainment systems within the financial reach of the average consumer, the movie industry continues to thrive. Although quality home theater equipment can be purchased for less than a grand, watching a cam release on a 1080p screen becomes self-defeating.

The movie industry continues to do well, with a recent study showing an overall growth over the course of file-sharing’s history. Costs aren’t getting any cheaper for the studios, so it stands to reason that the margin of revenue would be better if file-sharing didn’t exist – but conversely, file-sharing may also have the opposite effect by offering a sample of what theater can produce. In either case, the fortunes of the movie industry appear to be cooperating with the P2P world, which is more than can be said for the rest of the entertainment industry.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
Unauthorized Distribution :: Digital Piracy

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