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Hurt Locker File-Sharing Subpoenas Begin 376

Posted by Soulskill
from the how-not-to-generate-good-press dept.
In May we discussed news that producers of the film The Hurt Locker filed a lawsuit against 5,000 John Does, known only by their IP addresses at the time, for sharing the movie over peer-to-peer sites. Now, reader suraj.sun notes that subpoenas for the lawsuit are finally going out. "Qwest Communications on Monday notified a customer in Denver that the Internet service provider has received a subpoena from lawyers representing Voltage Pictures, the production company that made The Hurt Locker. ... In legal documents, Voltage Pictures has blamed the movie's relatively poor domestic performance on illegal file sharing. As of March 21, the movie had grossed $16 million domestically, but took in $40 million overall. According to reports, the film's production budget was $15 million. The film leaked to the Web five months before the movie's US debut. ... For allegedly downloading The Hurt Locker, DGW told the Qwest customer from Denver that settling the case early would cost $2,900, according to documents reviewed by CNET."
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Hurt Locker File-Sharing Subpoenas Begin

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  • Culprit ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dargaud (518470) <slashdot2NO@SPAMgdargaud.net> on Friday September 03, 2010 @08:52AM (#33463962) Homepage

    The film leaked to the Web five months before the movie's US debut

    Looking for a culprit ? The guy who decided to sit on the movie for months while the marketing campaign was already on. When people want to see something and it is available, albeit illegally, they will.

    • Re:Culprit ? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:01AM (#33464058)
      Devil's Advocate here, but does that mean they shouldn't be sued for their infringement?

      I paid to see the film at the cinema. I feel ripped off twice over; I paid for something I could have received for free, and the film wasn't all that great anyway. I can't get a refund from the movie company or the cinema, but I can still be peeved at the folks who leaked it. IMHO, by the way, it's the leak who should be sued, not the consumers.
      • Devil's Advocate here, but does that mean they shouldn't be sued for their infringement?

        If they can show that they caused damages even close to $2,900? Perhaps then.

        The methods being employed and the shackles placed on technology means I'm not going to support the plaintiffs. A good start would be having my television not try to negotiate with my cable box to determine if I'm being a good boy.

        • Re:Culprit ? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:20AM (#33464276)
          Mine doesn't. I show my lack of support by not using any product requiring HDCP.
        • Re:Culprit ? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by truthsearch (249536) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:53AM (#33464696) Homepage Journal

          If they can show that they caused damages even close to $2,900? Perhaps then.

          I don't see how the damages can be more than the price of a movie ticket per person.

      • by ginbot462 (626023) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:26AM (#33464348) Journal

        Devil's Advocate was OK, almost not worth pirating, but certainly not worth buying.

      • by hedwards (940851)
        Sued, probably, sued for the kind of money they're wanting for destroying the box office returns almost certainly not. And that's the problem, back when studios and such sued large scale operations, that made sense, there was a large number of copies being distributed and there was almost certainly a large negative impact on the studio. The problem is now that you're suing individuals it's somewhat questionable as to whether it's really appropriate in terms of punishment for being a small portion of the pro
      • Re:Culprit ? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Amouth (879122) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:31AM (#33464410)

        Sued for the act of infringeing - yea sure

        Suing for lost, imagined profits? Eh no...

      • Re:Culprit ? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Artifakt (700173) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:40AM (#33464532)

        The film owners still have a legal right to sue for infringement, and there's some pretty good arguments for a moral right, BUT ...

        The industry is claiming they need very high statutory damages to make up for the tremendous losses they say 'piracy' produces.
        If those losses are really so high in part because of cases where the industry itself screws up, then the industry doesn't really deserve especially high statutory damages, AND giving those to the industry may encourage their incompetence rather than them reformulating their business models to make 'piracy' less attractive. Metaphorically, the punishment for auto theft should not be made so attractive to the victim that he or she deliberately doesn't lock his or her car in a known bad neighborhood. Running up demand when you are not prepared to meet it, and delaying consumer gratification while the product is hot, are simply bad business models.

        The industry is also claiming they have a special need for taxpayers to foot more of the costs of them filing these lawsuits. If that same industry isn't bothering to do simple things they reasonably can to make those lawsuits unnecessary, then they themselves are the ones manufacturing that special need. That's one reason I qualified the part about moral rights, above - The industry has been claiming that the 'pirates' are solely responsible for creating that special need. If the industry itself is denying its own share of the responsibility, that undercuts their moral position. Going back to the metaphor I used, having your car stolen gives you no moral right to deliberately lie to the judge (and through him, the taxpayers paying the costs of a criminal prosecution) about whether you locked the doors or not.

      • Re:Culprit ? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by the_fat_kid (1094399) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:47AM (#33464618)

        devil this.
        Who ever leaked this only caused "harm" to the box office take by letting people know just how bad this movie sucked.
        That would seem to be the studio's problem with it. They wanted to FOOL people into thinking it was a good movie. Word of mouth sunk the movie first. Try again.
        Save your peeve for the people who palmed off this turd on you.

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      Looking for a culprit ?

      I'd say it was the sweaty man fight.

      Seriously, only in Hollywood would this thing get an award. Everyone I've talked to who was actually in Iraq said the movie was complete BS. Even Newsweek whacked it with a cluestick. Does no one on the entire Oscar committee know an actual veteran?

      • Re:Culprit ? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by cHiphead (17854) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:13AM (#33464168)

        I'm not military and even I saw the movie as complete bullshit. And I wanted to like it. Just too many little bs things added up to ruin it for me. Hey I'm a bomb tech and I'm gonna walk up and cowboy the shit out of every bomb I come across, not to save some children, but to just act like a badass. Quick, let's go outside our operating zone and SPLIT UP!

        That and the fact that the Nesquik cereal he is looking at near the end of the movie is not distributed in the US anymore. That was the most significant portion of the movie for me.

        • Re:Culprit ? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TheLink (130905) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:50AM (#33464664) Journal

          Yep. The most likely reason the movie didn't do that well was because most people didn't want to watch it. Or they were told not to bother from those who watched it.

          I wonder if those 5000 John Does are actually the total number of those who pirated the movie - which would be a rather embarrassingly small figure :). From what I hear, I wouldn't bother wasting my bandwidth downloading Hurt Locker, and I doubt I'd bother popping down the local pirate shop to get a copy.

          If filmmakers wanted to make more money they should make movies that millions of people will want to watch, and make it easy for them to pay and watch it.

          FWIW, I paid to watch Avatar in the cinema. And it was worth my money, nice graphics and all that. Even my mom paid to watch it with one of her friends and they both liked it too. Surprise surprise, my mom doesn't always like the same movies I like. My dad didn't want to watch it - he said it was too long. IIRC he watched LoTR, and I think that did well by most sane estimates.

          But despite that, somehow LOTR allegedly didn't make enough money for some crooks to pay Peter Jackson his fair share, and apparently Return of the Jedi never made money ( http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article6024677.ece [timesonline.co.uk]). "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" lost money too: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100708/02510310122.shtml [techdirt.com]

          So guess who I think are the real thieves and crooks in the movie and music industry? It's not those file sharers.

          Makes you wonder how they stay in business. Perhaps the Government should shut them down and put them out of their misery.

        • Re:Culprit ? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by loafula (1080631) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:32AM (#33465164)
          I was Army and when I watched it, I couldn't get past the fact it took place in 2004 and not only was someone playing an Xbox 360 on a 32" LCD TV, they were playing Gears of War (released 2007). That and the fact everybody was wearing the ACUs (Army Combat Uniform-the grey pixelly one) and not the DCUs (Desert Combat Uniform), which were not all that common until 2005. Didn't notice the cereal though!
          • They were going for a "gritty, realistic," movie but couldn't be bothered to do the actual work to make it so. Well that might wow critics, it would seem the movie was loved by the critical press, but it is going to fall flat for people who are actually in to that sort of thing. You can have an action packed, special effects thriller type that has little to no connection with reality and it'll do fine. People go to watch those for the spectacle, not for reality. However if you make a movie that is slowly pa

    • Re:Culprit ? (Score:5, Informative)

      by garcia (6573) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:06AM (#33464106) Homepage

      The culprit was that the movie sucked plain and simple. I mean it was quite possibly one of the worst movies I have seen in the last 5 years and I just watched Repo Men. The movie was slow, it was repetitive and the only possible redeeming quality it possessed was that it was rah rah US military and how could you possibly hate on the US military right unless you're a terrorist, right?

      In addition to that, there is a recession. I haven't been to a movie in the theater in a long time because I simply do not have the money due to a new baby and a SAHM. Redbox's $1 rentals and Hulu's documentaries have filled the void. Why would I ever spend $20 (for two) to go to see a movie when I can spend $1 instead?

      Enough of blaming file sharing this is plain and simple a shitty and overhyped movie which was better watched from the comfort of your own home for 1/20th the cost.

      • Why would I ever spend $20 (for two) to go to see a movie when I can spend $1 instead?

        Around hear theaters are charging $12-14 per ticket. Interesting for a format that started in Nickelodeons. Now that they are approaching levels where I can STILL get tickets to see the Philadelphia Orchestra practice (Or perform.. I get a somewhat special deal).

      • by Nadaka (224565)

        I still go to the movies, but only at the cheap place on Tuesdays. $5 gets me a movie date with a drink and popcorn for the girl. I still skipped Hurt Locker. I won't even go for it from red box. Hell, I won't even waste the bandwidth to download the POS.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        In addition to that, there is a recession. I haven't been to a movie in the theater in a long time because I simply do not have the money due to a new baby and a SAHM. Redbox's $1 rentals and Hulu's documentaries have filled the void. Why would I ever spend $20 (for two) to go to see a movie when I can spend $1 instead?

        Because it's easier to talk one of the baby's grandparents into babysitting while you take your wife on a "date" than it is if you're going home to watch a Redbox movie? At least, that's my

    • Re:Culprit ? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Xest (935314) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:07AM (#33464118)

      Saying filesharers caused the lacklustre sales makes no sense either, as other films are breaking records all the time- Avatar, Toy Story 3 etc. broke new records this year but also similarly suffer the piracy problem.

      As you say, there was more to this films poor sales than simply filesharing, see my other post in this thread for one possible reason, your point is also a good reason.

      Really this film had such a poor financial showing because of management mistakes, it's as simple as that. Sure piracy problem does take a chunk out of film profits, but nowhere near enough to cause too many problems else if it did the afformentioned films such as Avatar and Toy Story 3 would never have been able to break the box office records they did compared to previous all time record breakers like Titanic that came around before filesharing movie piracy was even a problem.

      Let's be honest, the executives responsible for the management fuckups behind this films lacklustre profits know full well they fucked up, these lawsuits are just about ass-covering so that these execs can fool some other gullable film maker into running the business end of their production in future. "Oh, yeah, the Hurt Locker, it wasn't abysmal marketing that led to it's poor showing, it was the file sharers. Honest.".

      • Re:Culprit ? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hedwards (940851) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:29AM (#33464400)
        Well, to be fair, they may have a point. As soon as people started watching it, I'm sure that word of mouth started to circulate about the quality of the film. Personally, I haven't seen it, but I take it that it wasn't a very good movie. And in this day and age, a bad movie might only get one day before it's outed on the web for being a bad film. Which makes it very hard to make money if it sucks as people know better pretty quickly, unlike in the past where they might get a couple weeks.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          >Well, to be fair, they may have a point. As soon as people started watching it, I'm sure that word of mouth started to circulate about the quality of the film.

          Isn't that better for the consumer, they didn't get ripped off by the film company trying to use advertising to make their product look better then it actually was.

          • Re:Culprit ? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Haffner (1349071) on Friday September 03, 2010 @11:12AM (#33465650)
            There was some movie exec who talked about how the current model is unsustainable, mainly because it involves the film industry repeatedly lying to consumers by saying "This movie is gonna be good!" and having it be crap, and then doing it again and again and again. As a result, he said, people will stop trusting advertising and won't even go to see the good movies before they've been out for a while, which will kill sales. Honestly, I think the best thing for studies to do would be to have smaller budgets on films that don't need huge budgets, and if a film is going to suck, they should advertise it but portray it honestly (not "This movie sucks!" but more "Cheesy romantic comedy with subpar dialogue!").
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Supurcell (834022)
          Yeah. You should really see what some people [rottentomatoes.com] have said about this movie on the internet. If you ask me, this movie really got what it deserved. [go.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mcgrew (92797) *

        Sure piracy problem does take a chunk out of film profits

        I don't know of any studies about movie piracy, but studies I've read about concerning music piracy that weren't paid for by the major music labels show that music pirates spend more money on music than non-pirates.

        With books, it takes 2-3 weeks after a book hits the shelves for copies to show up on the internet. One publisher commissioned a study to see how badly the piracy impacted sales, and was astounded to find that after the initial sales spike

    • Re:Culprit ? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jdpars (1480913) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:08AM (#33464128)
      No, the culprit here is the guy on the production team who leaked it. That's who these people need to go after. This smells of lawyers trying to keep their clients from realizing how totally unnecessary they are. How much will 5000 trials cost the people paying for these lawyers, and how much will that cost the taxpayers? We ought to be in a riot that people are abusing our legal system like this.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rogerborg (306625)

      Plus, if it were any good (and it weren't) then those sharers would have become evangelists for seeing it at the theatre.

      FFS, studios actually give free screeners to generate buzz. 3000+ people saw Scott Pilgrim for nothing, said great things about it, and then it totally crashed and burned at the box office anyway before it even had a chance to leak online. So, what, it failed to make money because the screener audience stole all the potential gross, with their filthy thieving eyes?

      Go after fileshare

  • Extortion (Score:4, Insightful)

    by theskunkmonkey (839144) on Friday September 03, 2010 @08:53AM (#33463970) Homepage

    When are they going to make extortion illegal?

    Oh wait...

    • Re:Extortion (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Haedrian (1676506) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:20AM (#33464268)

      When it stops being so profitable.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Haedrian (1676506)

        Seriously, if someone proposed "Lets update our copyright/piracy laws so that skimping out on a less than 10 dollar cinema ticket isn't worth a few thousand in lawsuit" the law would die in congress so quickly that you'd smell the rot from Europe. Probably the media will go on a "Would you like your property to be protected? The GOVERNMENT wants to take that away from us" smear campaign, and the backfire would be negligable.

  • Maths ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daveime (1253762) on Friday September 03, 2010 @08:54AM (#33463986)

    So they want 5000 filesharers to pay the ENTIRE production cost of the movie (5000 * 3000) = 15m, then the 40m is clear profit ?

    So, you payda money and maybya dont fall down da stairs ? Bunch of corrupt bastards. Sorry, bunch of government santioned bastards.

    • Re:Maths ? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Joce640k (829181) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:12AM (#33464160) Homepage

      This will be the new Hollywood business model.

      a) Make movie
      b) Hype it
      c) Release it on P2P
      d) Wait six moths, release in theaters
      e) When it bombs, sue 10,000 John Does because you know they can't afford to defend themselves.
      f) Profit!

      Anybody see a flaw?

      • by Joce640k (829181)

        'months', not 'moths'...duh!

    • The fine therefore is about $ 8000 per person, if they want to make the 40 million back (or less - I admit I didn't read the article).

      Anyway... in a next case, what happens if they manage to track down 1 million people? I bet that some really popular movies got shared that much. Do the movie companies get $ 8,000,000,000 from suing and winning a case??
      I mean - with such profits possible, why even put the movie in the cinema, or DVD? Just make it really, really good, and totally unavailable in mainstream mov

      • You didn't even read the summary. They spent $15m on the movie, grossed $16m in the US, made $40m total.

    • Re:Maths ? (Score:4, Informative)

      by The Moof (859402) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:36AM (#33464476)

      then the 40m is clear profit?

      You're neglecting Hollywood accounting [wikipedia.org] when you think about this. On paper, I'm sure this movie lost the studio billions somehow.

  • Clearly, no one can survive making that little profit, they need every last penny, dammit!
  • Great (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rshxd (1875730) on Friday September 03, 2010 @08:56AM (#33464006)
    My Tor exit node is probably going to get DMCA takedown requests. I got one for "CSI: Miami Season 4" and CERT Malaysia said I was launching an attack against XXX.XXX.XXX but won't provide me an IP address or range to block. Silly DMCA folks!!!!
  • Marketing fail. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xest (935314) on Friday September 03, 2010 @08:57AM (#33464018)

    First I heard of this film was when it won it's Oscars, by which point it'd been out 6 - 9 months, and seeing as most cinemas drop films after a couple of months then there's no wonder it got poor showing.

    Perhaps if people actually knew the film existed, it'd have done better at the box office. Not advertising the existence of a film whatsoever then wondering why the hell no one went to watch it, despite it being popular post-Oscars is the real reason this film did so miserably financially.

    Blaming file sharers wont fix a marketing mistake, and by the time they've gone through the courts, dealt with the claims they're entirely unable to prove, it'll probably have cost them far more in man hours than they can expect to earn back through strong arming people with settlement threats.

    • Agreed. I honestly had never heard of the movie until this article. I don't remember seeing any advertising of any kind.
      • by morari (1080535)

        And I honestly had never heard of it until this article. Looking it up on IMDB and Wikipedia however, it sounds like a bore. See? My preemptive filtering of media works like a charm.

    • by PolyDwarf (156355)

      [quote]Blaming file sharers wont fix a marketing mistake[/quote]

      True.. However, suing file sharers will fix a revenue mistake.

      [quote]... prove ...[/quote]

      hahahahahahaha

    • by Nadaka (224565)

      The pre-release file sharing was the marketing campaign. Its ok though, because its cheaper than real advertising and you can always sue the people you gave the film to if you don't make enough money.

  • by kick6 (1081615)
    They assume that the movie would have been a much bigger success were it not for file sharing. Maybe the movie didn't succeed because it sucked. I certainly didn't go see it because nobody I know that did recommended it. It would appear that the new business plan is 1. make a shit movie cheaply 2. leak the film while sitting on it for no reason 3. blame filesharing for the fact that no one liked your shit movie 4. sue file sharers for what you think you should have made 5. profit!
    • by Pojut (1027544)

      It was actually pretty decent. Certainly not Oscar worthy, but at the very least rental/Netflix worthy. If you like war movies that focus more on human psyche rather than combat (although there are a couple of good combat scenes in it), you should watch it at least once.

      • by cHiphead (17854)

        What 'good' combat scenes? The sniper scene was 'cool' but it felt completely out of place for a bomb disposal unit SOLO out in the desert (WTF?). The bomb defuse scenes were all cowboy, edge of the seat but viewers simply don't get the foreboding terror involved, felt like something was really missed. The whole presentation and marketing of this movie was about the realism it portrayed, the premise from the directors and producers was realism. This simply wasn't a good movie. Let's split up so we can

        • by Pojut (1027544)

          I personally had found it randomly while browsing through Comcast On-Demand while spending a weekend at my Wife's Uncle's house. I hadn't heard of it, nor had I heard of the realism they were pushing in their limited marketing, so I went into it blind.

          As a war movie, it was pretty entertaining. Realism is quite commonly thrown out the window in war movies, so when I watch war movies, I don't expect it. I think a combination of no knowledge about the film and my low expectations regarding realism is why I

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Java Pimp (98454)

      Maybe the movie didn't succeed because it sucked.

      Actually, illegal file sharing had a huge part in the movie not making any money. People could see just how bad it sucked for free before shelling out the cash to see it suck in a theater.

  • Ugh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Friday September 03, 2010 @08:58AM (#33464032) Homepage

    Look...I understand that piracy is wrong, and if something can be legally obtained it should be.

    That being said, this is freakin' insane. All 5,000 Does rolled up into one case? A case filed in Washington, DC...where almost none (if any) of the Does live? Fining these people so much money that the entire movie's budget is literally payed for by SUING people?

    If this isn't abusing the justice system, I don't know what is.

    • Re:Ugh. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Kjella (173770) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:43AM (#33464586) Homepage

      Well hopefully it will get broken up into separate actions. I mean, the alleged wrongdoing and the alleged proof may be similar, but the defenses will vary wildly from plain denial to family, tenants, guests, open wifi, trojans and so on. I don't see how one judge could possibly make the decision they're all guilty or not guilty, and so it doesn't fit as a class action the way I think of it. But I imagine for most it's about the fear and collecting settlements, if everyone simply said no and asked for their day in court this would stop. Even if you just showed up yourself and gave your layman "I have no idea what they're talking about" defense. If you just keep the spending at an absolute minimum and assume you'll lose, I doubt you'll be out more than $2500 anyway. The statutory minimum is $750, and if you don't piss off the judge or jury you'll likely to get that.

    • Re:Ugh. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:57AM (#33464744)

      Look...I understand that piracy is wrong, and if something can be legally obtained it should be.

      Basing a moral argument on what the law says is probably not the best strategy, especially considering that the relevant law in this case constantly changes (usually to subvert the interests of commoners and to favor the interests of corporations).

  • by pspahn (1175617) on Friday September 03, 2010 @08:58AM (#33464036)

    Voltage Pictures has blamed the movie's relatively poor domestic performance on illegal file sharing.

    ...took in $40 million overall. According to reports, the film's production budget was $15 million.

    They made $25 million and are blaming file sharing because it performed poorly? I think that possibly their standards are a bit skewed because they have been gluttonous bastards for so long. In the REAL WORLD, if a product's return is more than twice what it cost them, I'd say they are doing pretty good.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by rotide (1015173)
      No, that's not how it works. If you're awesome enough to make something copyrightable, you must be paid millions upon millions in perpetuity. It's only fair. So what if it only cost you $5.29 to make. You deserve $250,000,000,000,000 for it and if you don't get it, there must be rampant piracy and the witch hunt is on!
    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Hollywood accounting. Y'see, after the upfront production costs, there's still a bunch of ancillary companies to be paid for their services, for marketing, PR, the DVD, Oscar promotion... Those companies belong to the production company itself, sure, but that all drains away money.

      You'd be amazed at how few movies actually make a profit. It's incredible that Hollywood stays in business.

    • What I find funniest about this is that the settlements are currently equal to the production costs. What we're witnessing is the point when the MPAA members can actually stay profitable without releasing their movies!
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by dhermann (648219)

      In the REAL WORLD, if a product's return is more than twice what it cost them, I'd say they are doing pretty good.

      You would be wrong. It is remarkably poor performance for a film that won the Best Picture, regardless of its production value.

      • 2008 Slumdog Millionaire FoxS $141,319,928
      • 2007 No Country for Old Men Mira. $74,283,625
      • 2006 The Departed WB $132,384,315
      • 2005 Crash Lions $54,580,300
      • 2004 Million Dollar Baby WB $100,492,203
      • 2003 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King NL $377,027,325
      • 2002 Chicago Mira. $170,687,518
      • 2001 A Beautiful Mind Uni. $170,742,341
      • 2000 Gladiator DW $187,705,427
      • 1999 American Beauty DW $130,0
  • That sounds reasonable.

    On the other hand defending a lawsuit would probably cost more irrelevant of how innocent you are. It's still legal extortion.

  • by Angst Badger (8636) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:05AM (#33464104)

    ...maybe the film didn't do all that well because not that many people were interested in it. I know I had absolutely no interest in watching it.

  • Avatar (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:07AM (#33464122) Homepage

    The Avatar DVD is currently #51 in the Amazon sales charts despite being released in April. I bet it was way more pirated than The Hurt Locker will ever be.

    #6 in the Amazon sales charts is a movie made in the 1960s that has been available for piracy for many years.

    Occam's Razor: The movie isn't as good as they think it is.

    • by Java Pimp (98454)

      See, now that's insightful... but I've already posted and cannot mod as such...

    • Re:Avatar (Score:4, Insightful)

      by rotide (1015173) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:30AM (#33464406)
      I _highly_ doubt they don't realize the truth. Suing everyone and basically having your own "war on piracy" probably provides far better revenue and/or chances to grab power than just sitting there collecting sales revenue. People aren't stopping buying their movies (well, I have, but I'm sure I'm in a minority) but they sure as hell stand to make _thousands_ of dollars off each person they can pin down on a piracy charge. "Oh we see you were probably never going to buy our movie, well, you owe us $2k+ now, thanks for "purchasing" our non-DRM version of [movie]!"
  • by King_TJ (85913) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:09AM (#33464140) Journal

    Regardless of whether or not someone leaked out a copy of the movie months before its release, the *real* problem seems to be that they're spending WAY too much to make a movie, and then complaining when their return on investment isn't what they hoped for!

    The average motion picture is roughly 2 hours long, right? (Often shorter, and sometimes a few minutes longer, but let's just say 2 hours for the sake of picking a number.) That appears to be about $125,000 per MINUTE they spent to make it, given a $15 million budget!

    I haven't even watched Hurt Locker yet, but as I understand it, it's a contemporary movie about the war we're STILL fighting right now! It's definitely not a film that required a lot of painstaking effort to accurately re-create events of the distant past. All the costuming, props, etc. should have been readily available. So WHY can't this type of story be told for FAR less money?

    Personally, if I was producing a movie in Hollywood today, I'd pass on any of the "big name" actors and actresses that demand huge salaries, and concentrate instead on having a really good script. Then I'd find some talented but under-appreciated/utilized actors/actresses and see what I could do with them instead. In the last 5 years or so, I've seen much more "in depth" and interesting stories coming out of foreign films with exponentially lower production budgets than the garbage we keep cranking out here in the USA. It's time for Hollywood to rethink how they do business ... not to blame file-sharers for their problems and try to continue the status-quo!

    • Not that I disagree with your ridiculous budgets point but I would like to point out that accurately depicting events of the present is often much harder then the distant past because there's way more people who have the knowledge and credentials to call BS on any cut corners. I believe there's a whole thread in these comments about vetrans complaining about all the mistakes they made failing to accurate portray the reality of combat and life in Iraq. You generally won't find tens of thousands of people w
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      You still need to pay people, and rent equipment. Making a professionally done film requires both proper gear, and crew, both of which you have to pay for!

      You need to pay for:
      The camera package.
      Lighting package.
      Grip package.
      Costumes and makeup.
      Props.
      Crew which consists of grips, gaffers, the DP, an AD, and the director at LEAST. Often times you need hair and makeup, as well as stunt and visual effect co-ordinators.
      You need to pay the producers, the editor and assistant editor, the sound editor,
  • Worst Part (Score:3, Insightful)

    by O('_')O_Bush (1162487) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:18AM (#33464224)
    The worst part, in my opinion, is that this isn't even a good movie to pirate. I mean, it was okay to watch on Netflix, but there's no excuse for pirating such a mediocre film. Yea, it won an Oscar, but it was basically just a re-packaged Jarhead.

    If this had been over Inception or another really great film, I could understand better. This? Please.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:28AM (#33464372)

      The worst part, in my opinion, is that this isn't even a good movie to pirate. I mean, it was okay to watch on Netflix, but there's no excuse for pirating such a mediocre film. Yea, it won an Oscar, but it was basically just Minesweeper: The Movie.

      If this had been over Inception or another really great film, I could understand better. This? Please.

      FTFM.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by xtracto (837672)

        The worst part, in my opinion, is that this isn't even a good movie to pirate. I mean, it was okay to watch on Netflix, but there's no excuse for pirating such a mediocre film. Yea, it won an Oscar, but it was basically just Minesweeper: The Movie.

        If this had been over Inception or another really great film, I could understand better. This? Please.

        FTFM.

        Mhmmm... I saw [youtube.com] that trailer.

        Unfortunately as it is now common, after watching the Hurt Locker I realized the only good scenes were the ones in the trailer...

  • The Oscar was guilt award provided by the academy to show their support for the troops. The movie, even if it never hit the p2p networks, would have never grossed more.

    The movie wasn't a public hit because it didn't appeal to a broad range of movie goers. If they feel they need to sue for this - then so be it, but 5,000 cases in one DC court? What the fuck was this judge thinking?

  • ...and now I'll never rent it or buy it! Congrats on the lost sale!

  • by tgd (2822) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:31AM (#33464416)

    Academy masturbation aside "zomg, a WOMAN made a WAR movie about IRAQ!!!", the real reason it had a poor box office showing was that the movie, frankly, sucked.

    The people who downloaded it were the lucky ones.

  • Anyone ever heard of "marketing". I didn't even know this damn movie existed until way late in the game. It was actually in theatres? I don't consider myself living under a rock, but maybe the underperformance of the film should be blamed on the tools who were supposed to be marketing it.
  • by pongo000 (97357) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:34AM (#33464452)

    ...from a movie that only opened in "art houses"? At least where I live (largish metropolitan area), the movie opened in *two* indie theaters. I don't exactly know how this works, whether the movie producers steer their movie towards indie or mainstream theaters, or if the theaters can pick and choose the movies they show. At any rate, it's no big surprise that a movie that opened in a city of 2 million+ in only two movie theaters would have been short-lived, over-hyped (as these types of movies often are), and revenue-deficient.

  • Sounds to me like it would generally be cheaper to settle than to even bother hiring a lawyer. I think they've got the price point right for a very high settlement to sued ratio.
  • I haven't even heard of this movie. Maybe it did bad because it wasn't marketed well enough, or that it was just a crappy movie? There's a LOT of duds out there.
  • Interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Steauengeglase (512315) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:44AM (#33464588)

    This seems like the most equitable form of extortion I've ever seen come out of the entertainment industry, so at least I'll have to give the producers credit for not being complete pie-in-the-sky assholes ("We lost potential billions for the rest of time!")

    I'd love to see this the other way around. Before a film begins shooting, I pay them $2, just me Joe-Blow consumer. I can pick whatever project I want to give cash to, though I have no input on the content. In exchange for the $2, I get a license. I can copy and past the movie wherever I want to after it goes through the initial theatrical release. I also get to keep the license for an indefinite period, as it is MY license for a movie I invested in with my money (the average consumer isn't going to throw it out on to torrents, because dammit, they already own a copy). If done right, you could create an environment where movies are pure profit.

  • Regret (Score:3, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:02AM (#33464816)
    I bought the movie when it came out on DVD because I'd wanted to see it in theatres but missed it and heard it was worth the money.

    I really enjoyed the movie and was happy to see it earn some Oscar recognition.

    Now that they are backing this sort of action against people, I regret giving them any of my money. I will no longer recommend this movie. I regret supporting this movie if they are so willing to participate in a legal action that I find offensive. The copyright laws, as they exist, were designed to combat _commercial_ piracy and that's a battle I support. Suing individuals for the same monetary damages that are designed to discourage commercial infringement is abusive.

    Fuck them.

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