An industry plundered by pirates

, posted: 14-Jan-2012 14:50

I read this story in the Herald about Sione's Wedding 2 earlier today and wondered about the figures quoted in it. Leaving aside the obvious mistake in the first para about the original Sione's Wedding losing $70 million through piracy - that's the estimated number for the entire industry in NZ, as explained later on in the piece - the movie industry in the country appears to haemorrhage money due to illegal copying.

How bad is the situation then? I looked at the annual box office takings figures published on Box Office Mojo, for 2002-2011 to see what's going on.

I make no warrant as to the accuracy of the figures published at Box Office Mojo and it's not clear if they're in US$ or NZ$. If they are more or less correct though, they don't seem to show an industry in crisis. Quite the opposite, in fact, as the number of films grossing over a million dollars in NZ has more than doubled over the past decade for instance.

YearMovies grossing over $1mTotal
































Even if people download and share films, it doesn't seem to stop them from spending money in cinemas. Lots of it too, and more every year, bad economical times and increasing cost of living notwithstanding.

The most pirated move ever, Avatar, was the biggest earner since 2002, hands down. Whereas the likes of Harry Potter and Pirates of Caribbean scoop in over $6 million each, Avatar raked home over $12.5 million. Worldwide, Avatar is the top-grossing movie of all time, earning some US$2.78 billion.

Anyway, it's cool to see that despite the half a million or so that was lost due to a copy of Sione's Wedding being stolen and DVDs made from it being sold in South Auckland markets (no, not being torrented on the Internet, dear politicians) that film was the sixth biggest earner in 2006 with over $2.5 million, beating some really big names in the process. And very cool too that Sione's Wedding 2 has now been made and will show in cinemas from January 19.

Other related posts:
Over 1,000,000 torrents of downloadable books, music and movies
Megaupload and the US grand jury
Filesonic disables file sharing; due to MegaUpload?

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