Cinema: piracy explodes because of simultaneous theatrical and streaming releases

Gathered at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, American operators and studios raised the issue of piracy, which has been greatly encouraged by the simultaneous release of films in theaters and on streaming platforms.

Cinema: piracy explodes because of simultaneous theatrical and streaming releases
The Walt Disney Pictures

Gathered, as every year, in Las Vegas for CinemaCon, the exhibitors and studios were able to project themselves into the future, with trailers, teasers and other extracts from the films to come. And this is how Dying Can Wait or Matrix Resurrections visibly aroused real enthusiasm. But the convention also made it possible to look at the present and in particular an alarming fact: the recent increase in piracy.

Thanks to the arrival and proliferation of streaming platforms (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney +, etc.), illegal downloading has declined in recent years. But a study published in the Wall Street Journal August 24 showed that the trend had recently been reversed, due to the simultaneous release of films in theaters and on said streaming platforms.

From Godzilla vs Kong to The Suicide Squad, via Jungle Cruise or Black Widow, a good number of blockbusters have been available, in excellent quality, on illegal downloading platforms just a few hours after they were put online.

The phenomenon of piracy is obviously not new, but it has intensified severely since the upheavals linked to Covid. Because spectators and Internet users no longer have to wait a few months before the appearance of illegal blockbuster files in DVD / BluRay quality, but only several hours. This inevitably has an impact on the box office, with losses of up to 19% for a feature film, as specified by the president of the Motion Pictures Association of America Charles Rivkin in his speech.

Between its release weekend and the next, Black Widow saw its revenue drop by 67.8%. And that probably has to do with the fact that it remained the most pirated title during the three weeks since its release according to the site TorrentFreak, which lists data related to piracy. Is it for this reason that Disney and Marvel have decided to change their minds with Shang-Chi, which will initially only be visible in theaters, for a period of 45 days?

After deciding that its entire 2021 line-up would be available in theaters and on HBO Max on the same day (angering Christopher Nolan and Denis Villeneuve), the Warner for its part promised that things would return to normal. next year. But what will be the habits of spectators?

Because legal streaming platforms are among the big winners of the pandemic. And the reduction of the exclusivity window for films in theaters, before their release on video, could encourage viewers to stay at home and wisely wait for the feature film to come to them, causing further concerns for exhibitors and studios. See you at the next CinemaCon for the review.

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