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Warner Brothers executives are claiming a huge win in the war against piracy was instrumental in ‘The Dark Knight’ becoming a huge hit. According to company representatives they spent months ensuring that no copies of the film would disappear, and no one was recording it in Australian theaters in the two days it ran there before its US opening.
“One of the reasons why it’s so important to try to protect the first weekend is that it prevents the pirate supply chain from starting,” said Darcy Antonellis, president of Warner’s distribution and technical operations. “A day or two becomes really, really significant. You’ve delayed disc manufacturing that then delays distribution, which then delays those discs from ending up on street corners for sale.”
The problem with this reasoning is obvious. Tickets for opening day showings across the country were sold out far ahead of time. The record box office results were being predicted weeks in advance. Oh yeah, and people like the movie. It’s entirely possible that might have some sort of impact.
Eric Garland, chief executive of BigChampagne Online Media Measurement, was quoted in the LA Times saying “If the movie’s a stiff, and word gets out too early that it’s a stiff, it’s devastating to the business model.”
Maybe Hollywood should concentrate on the part of that equation where the movies don’t suck, rather than the part where people find out how bad they are.