Wolverine and File-Sharing

Monday, May 4, 2009

I’m sure the phenomenal grosses for “Wolverine” will raise for some the issue of whether file-sharing, rather than being a source of studio losses, can actually increase profits when a movie is available on the web before it is released. In other words, file-sharing serves as the world’s greatest sneak preview campaign.  This argument has been around at least since 2004 with “Battlestar Galactica”   It’s one of the excuses that is often trotted out for file-sharers not to see themselves as “pirates.”

I don’t agree with the  MPAA’s contention that the industry loses money every time someone watches a movie for free. But I also think that file-sharers are disingenuous when they say it has no impact. If we follow their logic, and consider that the studios might be able to make more money through file-sharing, then:  What kind of movies benefit?   Is it good for some and not for others?  Is it only valuable if you do it in advance?  I’m sure everything I’m writing here would horrify the MPAA, but who knows what the real answers are to questions like these.

It’d be interesting to see an adventurous studio--Lionsgate maybe—deliberately put a movie on the web before it’s released.  See what happens.