Ah, where are the boys from South Park when you really need them? Upset over the fact that an increasing amount of movie piracy is originating in Canada, Warner Bros. has decided to take immediate action. No, they haven't sent Trey Parker and Matt Stone to wreak havoc on our friends from the north; instead, they've decided to place a ban on all future "promotional and word-of-mouth screenings." This tactic, they hope, will put pressure on Canada to introduce some sort of legislation that makes "camcording of films for trafficking around the world" an illegal offense. Apparently, as it stands right now, any moron can walk into a Canadian theater, record a movie, sell it, and suffer no consequence.
This new ban will begin with the upcoming release of Ocean's Thirteen and continue with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The good news for all those who enjoy reading your local Canadian critic is that it doesn't appear that this ban will affect press screenings. The Hollywood Reporter story clearly points out that only promotional and word-of-mouth screenings are being cut off for now. Here's what I don't get about this whole thing -- if the studios are so worried about international movie piracy being born out of these early screenings, then why are they releasing, say, Spider-Man 3 in a number of countries around the world weeks before it was set to arrive here in the states? How is it that a film like Danny Boyle's Sunshine gets a worldwide release this spring, yet will not hit here until winter? Although I refuse to download anything off the internet and watch it, I know for a fact that Sunshine is already available online. While Canada certainly needs to step up and join the fight against piracy, I also think we need to evaluate these ridiculous trickling release schedules. What do you think?