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August 26, 2014

Piracy Killing Movie Franchises

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Interesting piece on The Hollywood News website about the impact of piracy on the film production business.

It has to do with the "Kick-Ass" movies, and the fact that there probably won't be any more of them, due (at least in part) to the piracy problem. Actress Chloe Moretz, who played the character "Hit Girl" in the movies, gave an interview:

"Sadly, I think I’m done with the character. Hit-Girl was a very cool character, but I don’t think there will be any more movies. You make these movies for the fanboys, but nowadays everyone seems to pirate them rather than watch them in the movie theatre. KICK-ASS 2 was one of the number one pirated movies of the year, but that doesn’t help us because we need box office figures. We need to prove to the distributors that we can make money from a third and fourth movie – but because it didn’t do so well, we can’t make another one. If you want more than one movie, everyone has to go and see movies at the cinema. It’s all about the the numbers in the theatre."

Now, I didn't see either Kick-Ass or Kick-Ass 2, so I'm in no position to judge the quality of the films. The original did well but the sequel apparently did not do so well. Defenders of piracy (haters of Hollywood, however you want to identify them) will no doubt argue that there won't be a Kick-Ass 3 because Kick-Ass 2 was no good.

But I have no doubt that, if one of the lead actors says piracy was a major factor, that's at least part of what she was told by the producers.

Cross-referencing this story with the recent episode where 2.2 million people watched a leaked, pirated version of The Expendables 3, it's clear that there is a significant harmful impact on movie production due to piracy.

In fact, a 2011 study found that a film can lose up to 20 percent of its potential revenue when a copy is leaked in advance of the film.

Piracy may not be the only factor behind a movie's underperformance, but it's clear that it can be a major factor.

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