Australia May Enter A New Age Of Piracy As Movie Delays Continue

Australia May Enter A New Age Of Piracy As Movie Delays Continue
Image: Columbia Pictures / Sony

Long ago, Australia had a massive problem with piracy. In fact, we led the charge for pirating TV shows like Game of ThronesSince local streaming services made television series and films more accessible, this problem has lessened — but Australia may be about to enter a new phase of piracy as cinemas reopen… sans the latest blockbuster movies.

Australia’s piracy problem has always been about access. The drop-off in piracy following the launch of select streaming services makes that pretty clear. When films and TV shows are accessible and reasonably priced, Aussies are only too happy to fork out to access entertainment. But if films and TV shows aren’t available at all, that’s when the problem surfaces.

As cinemas across Australia’s east coast reopen, moviegoers are expecting to tune into the latest blockbusters, in line with brand new U.S. movie releases. Venom: Let There Be Carnage, No Time To Die and Dune are all set for an October release in the U.S., with Dune also hitting streaming services.

But in Australia?

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is set for November 25.

No Time To Die will release on November 11.

Dune is delayed by a whopping three months and won’t arrive in Australia until December 2.

Given Dune is also launching on HBO Max (a precedent from The Suicide Squad), it’ll likely hit torrent websites the minute it goes live on the U.S. streaming service. For Australians looking forward to the film, weighing a three-month, spoiler-filled wait against committing piracy will be a challenge.

Now, I’m not endorsing piracy at all. In the end, it harms the entire movie industry — and in the case of HBO Max, there is a workaround.

But in an era where spoilers are rampant on the internet and every passing day makes it more difficult to avoid them, asking Aussies to wait an entire three months for Dune (or asking them to fork out for a VPN and HBO Max) is a big ask.

A similar fate awaits The Matrix Resurrections, which is set to land in cinemas and on HBO Max on December 16 in the United States.

It’s arguably one of the biggest blockbusters of the last few years, and it’ll have a rabid, talkative fanbase online. In Australia, the movie won’t release until January 1, 2022, an agonising two-week wait.

As with Dune, the temptation for piracy may prove too much for some.

The unfortunate thing about this whole affair is the solution is simple and we’ve already seen it working in the past: release movies simultaneously around the world. While this year’s situation is complicated by cinema shutdowns in New South Wales and Victoria, change is on the horizon. Plans for easing lockdown in New South Wales mean cinemas will be open in the next few weeks.

Yet none of the new blockbusters will be available in Australia until weeks (or months) after their U.S. releases.

Box office numbers are a major concern for studios and it’s likely the pandemic shutdowns induced these knock-on delays, but as we get back to whatever ‘normal’ is these days, the movie schedule should return to some normality, too. Frankly, it sucks that we’ve slipped back into an era where Australians have to wait ages for the best popcorn flicks. That’s something that should’ve stayed firmly in the past.

If you’re looking forward to any of the upcoming films, you’ll have to stay patient and keep an eye out for news. Release dates could still shift, but unfortunately it’s looking a lot like Australians will get the short end of the stick for movie releases this year.

Comments

  • I’ll add some more to this list for reference –

    – Flashback just got released last week, it released online way back on 10th June.
    – The Sorpanos prequel movie is scheduled for 4th Nov, it releases today online.
    – Malignant is scheduled for Oct 21st, it released online on the 10th Sept.
    – Clint Eastwoods Cry Macho is scheduled for Nov 25, it released online 17th Sept.
    – The Card Counter is scheduled for Dec 2nd, it released online yesterday.
    – Ghostbusters Afterlife is scheduled for Jan 1st, it will release overseas Nov 19th.
    – Matrix Ressurections and Kings Man are both scheduled for Jan 1st, and will release online Dec 22nd.

    This is just the current ones i can think of, there have been heaps more.

  • You say “workaround” but VPN is still against the T&Cs of HBO Max and they can just cancel your account without warning, and with no recourse to refund the subscription fee.

  • It is a shame but it’s just business… the two major cities are still in lockdown and even post-lockdown it’s reasonable to expect some consumer hesitancy (when it comes to sitting in close proximity to others for long periods of time) for at least a few months after that. I expect they’ve done the maths on the expected piracy costs vs launching at the same time as the rest of the world and simply decided that the temporary piracy costs are lower. I’d expect the closer release times to be back next year.

  • Leah here is ONE major factor you’re forgetting and why more people will pirate….our cinema quality. Im sorry but im sick and tired of going to an event cinemas cinema and seeing it washed out NO HDR NO DOLBY VISION i doubt its even in 4k… I legit get a better image quality on my 65 inch OLED than i do going to the cinemas. I just don’t get it anymore i understand in america they have digital cinemas with dolby vision… i would so go but without it LOL no thanks.

  • I WANT to see some of these movies on the big screen, but the fact one of my buddies went to see Dune in the cinemas a WEEK AGO and they aren’t releasing it here for 3 months, even though it’ll be online for other places… they can go fuck themselves. I would happily pay to “rent it” or whatever online here, but I don’t support when they make us wait

  • It’s because Hollywood only cares about 2 countries when it comes to movies: America and China, both of which are “open for business”. Hollywood doesn’t care about Australia as we account for next to nothing of the worldwide box office gross.

    All we can hope is that the window between cinema and streaming (usually 90 days) gets cut down like it did with Free Guy (It had 45 days from cinema to home release) and people stop going to cinemas and start either streaming or buying more of the movies in their home.

    The only way to make change is to vote with your wallet.

  • Now, I’m not endorsing piracy at all. In the end, it harms the entire movie industry…

    I, however, am absolutely endorsing piracy. The harm it does to the industry is just a sign that the industry has an underlying problem that it needs to fix.

    It’s like having a fever, from an infection. The fact that your temperature is high is not the problem. The temperature is high because your body is trying to raise your body temperature to cook infections to death. The solution is not to try and chill yourself in an ice bath, treating the symptom, but to kill the infections.

    Piracy is a symptom. They need to fix the cause.

    • Exactly this. You can see this trend happening in several media industries, but the movie industry wants to pretend the issue stems from anywhere except themselves.

      PC piracy was rampant until Valve showed that people will pay for a convenient way to have the things they want.
      TV show piracy from cable tv was rampant until Netflix showed that people will pay for a convenient way to have the things they want. Then the industry just remade the cable tv system and now piracy is back up to crazy levels.
      People will pay for the things they like. If you make them jump through hoops as well as pay, they will jump through the hoops needed to get it for free instead.

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