Screen films earlier to deter piracy


YAY, cinemas are reopening! For many, including myself, going to the cinema is a great pastime! It’s cheaper compared to other activities, and when a “good” movie hits, there’s nothing like the feeling of having shared something magical with the audience.

As a Marvel fan (the five highest-grossing “Hollywood” films in Malaysia are Marvel films), I have been waiting in anticipation for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, a film that looks to not only delivering the much-needed Asian representation but also received rave reviews prior to its opening. So, imagine my surprise and disappointment when I found out it is currently slated for release in Malaysia in the middle of October.

You’re probably asking what’s wrong with this entitled child who can’t wait three weeks for a movie? No doubt there are many more important things to worry about, but as someone who’s been following the situation carefully, the release dates slated for the films Free Guy (Oct 14), Fast and Furious 9 (Oct 21) and A Quiet Place Part 2 (Oct 28) are also questionable.

Unless you live under a rock or are sticking your head in the sand, piracy is a huge issue in Malaysia, and no one can or will ever solve it. Clamping down on piracy is a useless endeavour, as determined individuals will always find a way around to getting free entertainment.

Piracy has also likely accelerated tenfold during the Covid-19 pandemic, as films were released on streaming services in the United States. These services (Disney Plus Premier Access and HBO Max) aren’t available in Malaysia, so interested audiences stuck within the confines of their homes likely pirated films like Black Widow and The Suicide Squad.

I believe film exhibitors and studios will potentially lose out on much-needed revenue by delaying the screening of highly anticipated films like Shang-Chi. This is because once the film has reached 45 days of its theatrical run in the US (where the general release date was Sept 3), it will be streamed on on-demand services, and with a high definition pirated copy available, why would Malaysians, except the diehards, rush to the cinema to see it?

For me, the theatrical experience is not easily replaced, and it’s not a movie without the popcorn! But, I’m likely in the minority here.

According to major cinema operators in Malaysia, “studios need more time to get the film censored”. But what is there to censor? I doubt there’s an obscene scene that’s inappropriate for children in a film produced by the Walt Disney Company.

Please release the film as fast as possible so that cinema operators who have been out of business for months can maximise their profits and get back on their feet.

A MOVIE BUFF

Ampang

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Movies; piracy; MCMC

   

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