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Psst! Eight Bits Gets You "The Two Towers" In China 584

rocodipoco writes "CNN reports on this article about DVDs of "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" were available in Shanghai two weeks ago for about $1 a pop, according to one Western film industry executive who visited that city. The film opens in North America on December 18. Interviewed at the CineAsia movie convention, the executive said as many as 40 street vendors were openly offering DVDs outside a Shanghai mall; he declined their offers, and thus can't verify the quality of the counterfeit copies. I personally want to wait for the movie to hit the big's all about the suspense. What do others think?"
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Psst! Eight Bits Gets You "The Two Towers" In China

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  • Lies (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MisterFancypants ( 615129 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @04:46AM (#4852682)
    I realize that movies are sometimes released to the net and/or street vendors (primarily in Asia) before their official release dates, but like the false reports of the second Harry Potter movie being available months before release, I think this is just some bullshit the industry exec invented out of whole cloth to prove again how 'damaging' pirating is to his industry. I'm not pro-piracy in any way, but a line of bullshit is a line of bullshit.
    • Re:Lies (Score:2, Insightful)

      by 20_ooodbye ( 535341 )
      I think this is just some bullshit the industry exec invented
      Well I'll give him the benefiet of the doubt.
      I doubt however that a real copy of The Two Towers was actually in the DVD cover. It would be just as easy to sell a copy of FOTR or anything else then make sure they are selling their wares somewhere different the next day as to avoid irate customers.

      Pretty cool scam really
    • Re:Lies (Score:5, Informative)

      by PjotrP ( 593817 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:07AM (#4853043)
      look if this story was true we would find copies of it on the net. Have you guys any idea how much prestige releasing this movie on the net would give to any movie release (pirate) groups?

      In the scene of pirating movies everything is a prestige thing. Its about releasing the best quality movies before another group does it. The scene even has rules, though not as strict as the game-pirating scene. Anyway any group releasing this movie this early would get mucho kudoos or whatever those punks think they can measure their success as a pirate group with.

      Any of the most succesfull groups have loads of contacts in Asia as things just are easier to get in asia, with more cinema-owners not caring about "lending" the screener-dvd to somebody for a night, and with all the anime or whatever kind of movies that are released there before the US. The dvd-rip would most probably hit the internet even before the streetvendors have it. so since there are no dvdrips on the internet there very probably is no dvd for sale in asia... so this is instead just that lil bit more attention and part of the media hyping of the movie...

      • Re:Lies (Score:3, Informative)

        by danny256 ( 560954 )
        I don't know where you've been, its around on IRC.
        Try #divx-movies
    • Oh come on (Score:4, Interesting)

      by varjag ( 415848 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:26AM (#4853104)
      Such situation is quite common in countries without strong copyright law or its proper enforcement.

      Say, in some ex-USSR states you can buy an upcoming blockbuster months before the official world premier. Often they are outright stolen from clipping board and lack some scenes and visual effects. I recall Casper the Firendly Ghost without the actual ghosts rendered, and Waterworld without the shark hunt scene being offered on street markets.

      Quite possibly it can be the case with The Two Towers as well.
    • Re:Lies (Score:3, Informative)

      by alSeen ( 41006 )
      Having lived in Beijing, I have no problem believing this. Two reasons.

      1) He got the price right. The normal price for dvd/vcd from street vendors is 8-12 yuan. This is about $1.

      2) I saw it happen. Not with this movie (I was there summer of 2001) but with others.

      I don't know for a fact that this is true with the Two Towers, but it's not that hard to believe.
      • Re:Lies (Score:3, Informative)

        by ninjadoug ( 609521 )
        I was in Beijing before The 1st lord of the rings came out and got hold of a copt of the 1st film on DVD, It was very poor copy and the sound was awfull, however it was the original. It cost the about 60 uk pence (about $1). You used to be able to get the pirate DVD's in shops but now they cut down on this becuase China wants to be in the WTO so the best thing to do is to go into some coffee shops and wait to be offered. There are some shops that seem to have the whole purpose of selling these DVD's. I bought about 60 when I was there and About a third were unwatchable. Also the english writing on the back is hilariously badly translated.
    • Re:Lies (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bgog ( 564818 )
      About 3 months ago a friend of mine came home with a bunch of $1 DVDs from over there. One of them was th e two towers. It turned out to be an '80s movie called "The Sword and the Sorcerer". They even went to the trouble of superimposing the face of one of the characters on the big statues in FOTR!

      So much trouble for a buck!
    • Re:Lies (Score:3, Funny)

      by yelims ( 160240 )
      Elwood: Well, what was I gonna do? Take away you're only hope? Take away the very thing that kept you going in there? I took the liberty of bullshitting you, okay?

      Jake: You lied to me.

      Elwood: It wasn't lies, it was just bullshit.
    • by moncyb ( 456490 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @08:44AM (#4853702) Journal

      I don't think this story is a lie. It sounds to me the movie studios have just as much problem protecting their copyrighted material inside their own organization. Why else would we get these movies released from illegitimate sources before the movie even comes out?

      ...and they want a censorship and control system (aka DRM) placed on the general public? It sounds to me that won't solve their copyright infringement problems at all. More likely the "pirates" will steal the footage before any DRM control is placed on it. Moreover they will equally be able to steal or aquire all the software / equipment / DRM keys needed to make their content appear with valid watermarks. The only ones who won't be able to publish are the legitimate everyday person who has been making "intellectual property" since the beginning of history.

      Maybe congress needs to pass a law to increase the "security" of movie studios. (and hopefully put them out of business in the process) ;-)

    • by Crash Culligan ( 227354 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @09:54AM (#4854310) Journal
      From the sound of it, many people here don't believe that the pre-screen piracy actually took place. But let's suppose for a moment that it's true: that "The Two Towers" DVD hit the streets in Asia even before the movie is due to hit the theaters.

      Shameful! Shocking! The movie is pirated even before it's released here! How could such a thing happen? Why, the only organization who has the film is the studio itself. Hmmmmm...

      This could have been accomplished either of two ways:

      1. Someone snuck a camcorder into one of the test showings and recorded it. In this case, the studio didn't have enough security at their screens to check for recording equipment. This would produce a really low quality movie since there's no way to set up a tripod. Odds are it would not produce a good DVD, so there's only one other option:
      2. Someone within the studio itself pirated it. This is a monstrous accusation, I know, but think how easy it would be. These big films are already digitally mastered, and sneaking a single disc out of the studio probably wouldn't be so hard. Or there's email. I don't know what kind of computer security the studios have working for them (it can't be that good given how they're universally reviled on /.) but someone could probably pack up the film (or even the contents of the finished DVD) out of the studio.

      These are the only ways that I can think of (reply with your own ideas, please!), and in either case, the piracy is due to the studio's own negligence and/or delusions of invulnerability. Bottom line: There's no way they can pin this on Joe Consumer and his tricked out VCR/DVD rig, or Joe Geek with his Linux box running DeCSS.

      Perhaps we should believe them, and help them to understand where their problems really lie. Because I bet they're too thick to figure it out for themselves.

      I'm anti-piracy, pro-fair-use, and anti-bullshit. Just like 98% of everyone else out there.

    • Apparently, most people don't realize what the movie theater situation is like in China. They don't exist for all practical purposes. The government caps the number of foreign films permitted into theaters to 10 per year. Then, all of these films are dubbed into Mandarin and released months later. I was in China for several months this past spring and they were just getting the first Harry Potter then. For those people who like to watch movies in their original language (or those people who are living abroad for a while) the rampant piracy is a godsend.

      I remember I was over there when both AOTC and Spider-man came out and you could find videocammed copies of new releases and DVD quality copies (Oscar evaluation copies) of others. I had a sweet copy of LOTR on DVD in April. This piracy is allowed because the government doesn't want to actually refuse people the opportunity to watch the movies but they also don't want to allow them outright either. With this situation they can crack down on some store if they feel like it and say it is because of some 'piracy issues.'

      I'm quite sure that there actually is a copy of the Two Towers out there though.
    • Re:Lies (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @12:22PM (#4855297)
      "I think this is just some bullshit the industry exec invented out of whole cloth to prove again how 'damaging' pirating is to his industry. "

      I don't think they're really worried about damage to the industry. There'll always be huge demand for content. I think what they're really worried about is damage to their business model. They might have to *gasp* change it!

      I was telling my gf a couple of days ago that I think Hollywood should release DVDs of movies the day they come out in theaters. That way, they can capitalize on a movie while it's at the peek of its hype. In the middle of the conversation, I realized why they'd never ever go for it: they can't charge people individually for watching a flick. Cute, eh?

      The big threat to the Movie Industry is that when a movie launches, it'll have to simu-launch around the world on virtually the same day. For some reason, they're very afraid of this.

      They think that the moment it hits the net, nobody'll pay for it, they'll instead opt for >24 hour downloads in order to save a couple of bucks. This says one of two things: 1.) They're unwilling to charge fairly for their offerings or 2.) They have no stinking clue how fair people really are. (I personally think it's a mix of both.) Funny thing is, there's all kinds of proof out there that people don't mind paying for content. Porn anybody?

      To be honest, I'm amazed that the Movie Industry hasn't embraced the internet. It's a much deeper media for content. As for advertising capability, even today it still has the power to hold an audience. Imagine if Paramount hosted streaming versions of [INSERT FAVORITE TREK SERIES HERE (but if you're tasteful, you'll want DS9 :P)] with commercials inserted. A dedicated fan of the show is going to want to watch every ep in order. That's advertising time they couldn't extract from me today, even if they did air it daily on TV like TNG is.

      I have to admit, I'm pretty disappointed with how everything's been handled. I'm genuinely surprised that a studio like Dreamworks hasn't picked up the ball and said "Huh... there's lots of cool technology here."
    • Re:Lies (Score:3, Informative)

      by nanoakron ( 234907 )

      let me clear this up right here and now. I have lived in asia for the past 17 years of my life (though not in China)

      YES, LoTR part 2 is available where I live...2 months before the release date.

      And YES, Harry Potter 1 and 2 were both available months before their respective release dates, both on DVD.

      Those are both facts.

      Now let's get into the discussion...

      Just because it comes on a DVD DOES NOT MEAN that it is DVD quality. When I go shopping for my $3 pirate DVDs, they come in 2 types at the local shops - type 5 and type 9 (referring, I think, to the number of gigabytes on each).

      Now, everyone out here knows that the 9's are full DVD quality videos, and as such are only found after the original, FULL DVD has been properly and legally released. This still meant that I got to see Spiderman in DVD quality on a DVD 9 before it was released in the cinemas in the UK, because it was available as a promo DVD or whatever from the studios in the US shortly after the cinema release over there.

      Now, DVD 5's are a different beast entirely. These are the DVDs that all these 'super early releases' are found on. And let me tell you - YES they are the full movie. NO, they are not worth watching. They are not even worth the $2 you can get them for at the market.

      They are what we call 'cinema specials' - i.e. someone has smuggled an ultra-small handicam into a studio preview of the full movie. They are often someone unimportant, and therefore sit at the very edge of the screen, often way down in the front. So, the movies they record are at a skewed angle at best; the sound is in bad, peaking mono; and you can hear people talking all around you, often louder than the shit quality of the film sound they're recording.

      At the end of a 'cinema special', you can watch the people from the rows in front of the person with the camera stand up to leave, and sometimes hear something from one of the studio people about how this is an early release copy and may not be the same as the one released to the cinemas in 2 months time.

      So NO they are not lying when they say these early versions exist. NO they are not worth watching. They ruin your enjoyment of the proper film, presented in fullscreen glory, with proper sound and picture quality.

      I can't believe some sheltered american who jumped to the conclusion 'I can't find it at wal-mart, so it mustn't exist and the studio must be lying' got moderated +5, insightful.

  • LotR... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hanno ( 11981 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @04:46AM (#4852684) Homepage
    call me naive, but LotR is one of those movies that people don't _want_ to pirate.

    I know several people who had a SVCD-rip of the full movie and yet they still got the full DVD set half a year later...
    • call me naive, but LotR is one of those movies that people don't _want_ to pirate.

      I know several people who had a SVCD-rip of the full movie and yet they still got the full DVD set half a year later...

      It's more like we want our own copies, and we want the best available. As soon as the legal DVD packages come out, you can be sure we'll buy them, silly bookends and all. This goes beyond simply acknowledging copyrights, to acknowledging deep respect both for the written work and for the excellent production. However, there's that waiting thing.

      In the past I actually showed excerpts of rips of movies about-to-be- or just- released, in order to sway people at work as to which movie we should take departmental "meetings" to go see. I don't believe in permanent copies of DivX or SVCD (my own original content I burn to DVD), but as a short-term stopgap measure, it has its uses.
      • It's more like we want our own copies, and we want the best available. As soon as the legal DVD packages come out, you can be sure we'll buy them, silly bookends and all.

        Who's LOTR bookends are you calling silly? your from mordor aren't you!
    • Re:LotR... (Score:4, Informative)

      by chamenos ( 541447 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @05:22AM (#4852882)
      you gotta know which kind of rips to download. always download the divx encoded DVD rip of movies; those have the best quality, and are sometimes indistinguishable from the original DVD itself. there are some divx-encoded DVD rips that are split into two 600-700 meg files, and the quality is akin to a 256kbit/sec mp3. when i say indistinguishable, i mean it. you can play the oringinal DVD side by side with it, and you -cannot- tell the difference at all.

      never download those SVCD rips or divx encoded VCD rips. you can usually tell because the former are in mpeg format, and the latter are usually only a few hundred megs, as compared to about 700 megs for a DVD ripped divx movie.

      in my experience, the rips with the best quality are those from sharereactor.
      • Re:LotR... (Score:2, Funny)

        by BoxHoliray ( 632843 )
        i mean it. you can play the oringinal DVD side by side with it, and you -cannot- tell the difference at all.

        Yes you can. The other one is my prrrecious. The other one is just a cheap ripped piece of plastic.
    • ...only because it's a pain in the ass to get up three times to swap discs in the middle of the movie :-)
  • I have the DVD of FOTR and it really really sucks on my TV. You can hardly see the characters. Either you have a really huge screen, or you better wait for the theaters.
    • Re:Biiiig Screen (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by trotski ( 592530 )
      Or watch it on your computer screen.... 21 inches, panoramic, resolution thats equal to a movie screen. If you think about it, a 21 or even a 17 inch screen is way better than a TV anyway, since your sitting much closer.... and I can't stop cheering about the resolution! Who need a TV and DVD player when you've got a computer!

      No this isn't flamebait.... I'm entirely serious. I have my FOTR divX, do you?
      • > 21 inches, panoramic, resolution thats equal to a movie screen.

        Err... what?? Sitting on my desktop?? Roaring DVD drive and fans under the table?? That's not what I call enjoying a movie.
        But then, last week I borrowed a high lumi beamer with long enough cable and put my box in the other room. That was pretty cool... unfortunately I can't afford a beamer of my own...

      • No I don't have my FOTR DivX;)
        I have the DVD set to watch on my 36" WEGA with 5.1 sound.
        Divx;) pshaw:)
        Actually I threw my DivX;) version away when I bought the extended edition. watching it on my 19" monitor suddenly didn't seem as neat.
  • suspence (Score:2, Interesting)

    by slothman32 ( 629113 )
    I don't know why everyone likes watching movies in theaters. I like the ability to pause if I need to releave myself. My home is also a more comfortable setting. Of course "counterfeit" movies may not as high a quality but it's not giving money to MPAA.
    • Re:suspence (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DennyK ( 308810 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @05:11AM (#4852815)
      Not everyone can afford a big-screen TV and surround sound system. Without those, the experience watching at home doesn't really compare to the theater. An afternoon ticket around here can be had for $6-7 at the best theaters, and if you skip the concession stands and bring your own munchies (not that I would ever do such an Evil Thing, of course... ;-D ), when you consider there are only a handful of movies I consider worth watching coming out each year, a few trips to the theater is not a bad deal. Of course, I do have a DVD player (well, a PS2...), and I own many VHS and DVD copies of my favorite movies for repeated viewing at home on my cheap 19" TV, but sometimes there are still films I want to see in the theater.

      The only downside to the theater is that I can't adjust the volume. Has anyone else noticed that most theaters these days turn the sound up to truly nasty levels? I have rather sensitive hearing, and the last several movies I went to, the sound was loud enough to really cause pain until I stuffed some napkins in my ears. These days, I just bring along earplugs to most movies. (While you might think that detracts from the whole immersive "surround sound" experience, the movies I've been at actually sound fine, and sometimes even a bit too loud, through a set of earplugs, which is really scary considering the plugs are lowering the volume by a few dozen decibles... ;) )

      • To the contrary, I love my movies loud, to the point a contract-signing-worthy hearing damage. That THX sound is something cosmic, it's HUGE!!! sometimes I stand up and scream, "THAT SOUND IS SO FUCKING HUGE! HOLY SHIT!" Thats how loud I like my movies :)
        But I digress, Would it hurt the theatres to have showings at different volume preferences. Because I want the voice of Saron to pierce my living - likely high and scared - soul :D
        also I am going to download this new one.
    • Re:suspence (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Of course "counterfeit" movies may not as high a quality but it's not giving money to MPAA.

      You know, "giving" money to the entity which spent huge sums of its money (that it makes from sales) to make this movie you wish to watch.

      You want to steal from people because they're richer than you and you're petty and jealous and cheap, you can go right ahead and do so. But don't try to justify it to others. Just stand up and be honest with yourself and ./ community members that you are simply taking something which doesn't belong to you.
    • It's not just about "doing business" during a movie either. Nor is it just about the biiig screen and THX sound. It's the leg room. It's the cuddling with a loved one, or pet as the case may be. It's the 75 cents for popcorn and koolaid vs $8 for popcorn and ice(soda if you're lucky).

      And, for some weird reason, most people at the movie theater don't like it when I bring my bong.
  • I don't know about suspense , I think I can guess the ending pretty easily

    However, I sure want to see that film in a BIG screen, I don't think I'll ever buy a DVD of it.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    i live in lebanon (middle east) and we get these DVDs from asia for each and every film before the official release but i have to say this is usually recorded on mini DV by someone during a prerelease of the film. u actually see shades of people and heads moving around and teh sound is the ambiant sound.
    believe me i still go to the movies to c the real thing! cause these DVDs suck big time.
    baxter yazbek
    beirut - lebanon
  • Pirated? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by HeX314 ( 570571 )
    Wasn't this available for download through KaZaA a while back? Why would you order a questionable-quality version from China if you could pull (possibly) the same thing from a P2P network?

    Not like I have the will (or the bandwidth for that matter) to pull the movie, but it shouldn't be such a big deal if it was already available.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Sounds like scaremongering to me..."insidious crime ring use ninja to pirate film prior to release".

    The industry needs to either get their act together re how they embargo new releases or give up their sad attempts at pre-release hype.

  • No proof (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MavEtJu ( 241979 ) <slashdot&mavetju,org> on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @04:50AM (#4852707) Homepage
    he declined their offers, and thus can't verify the quality of the counterfeit copies.

    Talking about making a fool of himself...
    • We was right (Score:4, Interesting)

      by forged ( 206127 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:02AM (#4853028) Homepage Journal
      I would have done the same if I were him.

      I somehow got a bootleg copy of Matrix before it was released on the big screen, and watched that very ugly VCD rip. I was blown away by the plot since I didn't know anything about the film beforehand, however since that day I've always regretted not to have seen it in a proper theatre to begin with.

      I've stopped getting bootlegs ever since for this reason.

      • Re:We was right (Score:3, Insightful)

        the point is he's a *movie executive*

        not just a punter wanting to see the movie...

        taking this copy home may of helped the movie industries PR about pirates/DRM etc...

        I must admit I watched the spiderman screener b4 it came out. it amused us at 4am off our tits...
        (people standing up, coughing etc)

        Still went to the cinema to see it "properly" though.
  • by sheepab ( 461960 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @04:50AM (#4852709) Homepage
    After just viewing LOTR: The Two Towers, I was shocked when I found out that they all died....
  • by trotski ( 592530 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @04:51AM (#4852718)
    Dude, read the book....

    Suspense is sitting at the edge of your seat wondering whats going to happen next. I'm gonna go out on a limb here, but I think most people reading slashdot are going in to these movies knowing more or less whats goign to happen. The suspense factor just isn't going to be there.

    I think the exciting part about seeing these movies is comparing how the movie compares to what the story looked like in your own imagination. Just as an example, I pictured the great river as a river as wide as the Columbia, winding through a dry wasteland. In the movie it was portrayed in an entirely different way. Thats what excited me, to see what another person imagined the story to be like.

    I think if your watching the movies for the suspense, do yourself a favor and read the book. Sometimes knowing whats going to happen is even better.
  • Just say No! :) (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Stillman ( 185591 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @04:52AM (#4852721) Homepage
    Well, I don't believe anyone who really appreciates movies would want these. It's a similar mentality to those hordes of 14year old "gimmes" who download tons and tons of mp3s and DivXs because they can, and it's somehow "cool" to have it before anyone else. Half the time, they don't even watch them! It's just a status/ego thing to be able to say "oh, I've got that. Had it for weeks *yawn*".

    What interests me is that I've always thought this was quite a "western" mentality, grounded in materialism and greed. Are the Chinese just the same? Or do they have other motivations?

    • Re:Just say No! :) (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jericho4.0 ( 565125 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @05:01AM (#4852766)
      I think that kind of mentality is common in all cultures, China not the least. The Japanese, after all, have a marked appitite for the newest and greatest.

      I think it's a universial trait, that manifests itself diffently is every culture and sub-culture.

    • What interests me is that I've always thought this was quite a "western" mentality, grounded in materialism and greed. Are the Chinese just the same? Or do they have other motivations?

      Nah, man... they obviously pirate movies as a means to reach enlightenment.
    • There's also the reason that (1) not everyone can afford to go to a big swanky cinema (if they can find one) and (2) the damn film isn't going to be out in China until next year.
      Even if this guy from dolby was telling the truth, and if the DVD's were 'real' (ie reasonable quality, and of the right film), what was he doing there? He was attending a conference of industry types concerning how to 'exploit' (their words not mine) the Chinese market. A good start would be to learn something about the market, not treat it the same as the US (or as 2nd class compared to the US) and for god's sake try releasing things internationally at the same time! If some rich bloke comes moaning about "this dreadful country where he went to try to screw money out of people and got screwed over by those people", especially when he has absolutely no proof, don't come moaning to me.
      end rant ;)
    • Re:Just say No! :) (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Nept ( 21497 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @08:09AM (#4853475) Journal
      To put it into perspective, in there city I work, Shenzhen which is considered a pretty good place for tech jobs most jr. programmers make the equivalent of around $200 US per month. That's considered damn good wage too. Menial labor (waiter/ess in a high class restaurant) is about 10 yuan a day (1.20 US). How many of these people can afford to pay 25-30 US per DVD do you think? Or pay 3-5 US to watch a movie in the theatre? Even the street price of a VCD (about 10 yuan) is above what most people here can afford.
      For movie execs to say they lose money in Asia is just a line of pure bullshit. They don't even have a market here! There's no way the vast majority of the people here can afford to pay western prices. It's laughable.
      And Shenzhen has a much higher standard of living than the rest of China and even most of Asia, save perhaps HK, Shanghai and one or two other places.

  • by lemmen ( 48986 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @04:53AM (#4852726) Homepage
    For me Usenet is one of the most reliable sources for this kind of news. If it hasn't been posted on newsgroups, it is most certainly not available.

    There is a very good search engine available: []
    If you can't find it there, it's not posted/available.
  • China has always been good with replication (yes, it reflects on their population too ;)). They are bright, intelligent and hard workers. I guess they lack that innovative touch, otherwise they would have shaken the world by now. It's not just China. I'm pretty sure that Malaysia, Thailand will also have copies floating around. DVDs... now that's the shocker. We've heard of cds, they are cheap and easy to duplicate. Usually they dump "Camera prints" on their early releases, but DVDs ?? Are they proper DVDs or are they just camera prints dumped on DVD media ?
    Their loss though, coz such an epic will lose its impact if not seen on the big screen !!!!
  • by trotski ( 592530 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @04:58AM (#4852754)
    I found this gem today:
    • To: Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema

      Those of us who have seen The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring know what an amazing director Peter Jackson is. When I learned that there apparently was to be a sequel, I was overjoyed. However, Peter Jackson has decided to tastelessly name the sequel "The Two Towers". The title is clearly meant to refer to the attacks on the World Trade Center. In this post-September 11 world, it is unforgiveable that this should be allowed to happen. The idea is both offensive and morally repugnant. Hopefully, when Peter Jackson and, more importantly, New Line Cinema see the number of signatures on this petition, the title will be changed to something a little more sensitive.


      The Undersigned

    Some people are stupid. ;)
    • by mav[LAG] ( 31387 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @05:10AM (#4852812)
      Hmmmm - I think this [] is the original home of this link. The petition was authored by one Kevin Klerck [mailto]. Wait a minute! It's the troll!
    • Holleywood has denied any attempt to profit off september 11 with the release of the new Bruce Willis action movie "Bin Laden go bye bye". Industry sources say that its a tribute to the fallen heros and every dollar spent will only prove the success of western capitalism and how great the US is.
    • by chabotc ( 22496 ) <> on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @05:27AM (#4852901) Homepage
      If you ask me the note that added to this petition is even funnier then the original text.. You just have to apreciate the effort it must've cost them to respond so seriously to the 'issue' ;-)

      "Please Note: The Two Towers is the title of the JRR Tolkien book originally published in 1954, the second book of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The title was thus established some 47 years prior to the attacks on the World Trade Center towers, and there is no evidence to suggest that Peter Jackson meant anything by continuing the same title other than faithfulness to the beloved Tolkien classics. Furthermore, the two distant, opposing towers in the Tolkien classic have very little if anything in common with the two matching towers of the World Trade Center. --"
    • Some people are stupid. ;)

      These people are beyond stupid. There is a website associated with the petition located here []. I saw this awhile back and did a whois through internic on their domain. It was registered to a guy named Kevin something, whom I did a Google search on along with "two towers". It came up with a CNN article about someone with the same name who used to own a comic book shop right near where WTC happened. The guy was apparently selling comics covered in WTC dust as collectors items. I can't be certain this was the same person, but the company contact listed on the whois was a comic book company in Canada. The whois information has since changed.
    • Americans should also think of changing their popular emergency phone number to something else... After all, 911 is pretty shocking, isn't it? People nowadays are so sensitive. I suggest 912, so it matches the Simpsons (watch the "stonemasons" episode) idea.
  • by Leto-II ( 1509 ) <slashdot.4.tobye ... EEom minus caffe> on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @04:58AM (#4852757)
    I've seen a few copies of LoTR 2 here in China. Sort of. All the DVD/VCD copies I've seen here so far have been labelled quite well. Pretty box art and everything. But when you put in the disc it turns out to be a completely different movie. Not sure which movie it was as I didn't watch long enough to be sure, but it's some old fantasy flick from the 70's. AFAIK they don't have a real copy of LoTR 2 yet in China.
    • by rdmiller3 ( 29465 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @05:20AM (#4852875) Journal
      I can vicariously second this fellow's note.

      I know several people who described identical experiences buying DVDs in China. It seemed too good to be true, near-cost prices and titles which had sometimes only been rumored to be in production. The labels looked authentic at first glance but often contained spelling errors... possibly composed of images gleaned from promotional material.

      The movie inside was not at all the one which was advertised. Usually it was an old movie with a similar theme.


    • Hehe, lucky dips! You might even end up with a nice movie at the end!
  • Sad... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tomknight ( 190939 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @04:59AM (#4852758) Homepage Journal
    All about the suspense? Jeez, that's nearly as bad as saying Star Wars 2 should be viewed on a big screen with surround sound. A good film doesn't need all of that stuff. A good film should be able to be viewed on any crappy screen (but not from a crappy recording,i.e. a dodgy rip off DVD).

    For a film to have its amazing SFX used as a selling point is pathetic.

    Anyway, where's the suspense? I can hardly believe that anyone here really doesn't know the LoTR storyline by now?

    Not trolling, just pissed off at the way films are made and sold sometimes....


    • Re:Sad... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Idarubicin ( 579475 )
      Would you prefer to listen to Beethoven with a Walkman on the subway? It's still good music, but the quality of the experience is still much better if you see it live in a real concert hall.

      I expect LOTR:TTT will be an excellent film on large or small screens, but a theatre-sized screen and surround sound will add to the experience. The movie was filmed with a proper theatre in mind--moving to another venue and a lossier format will cost you some of the nuance.

  • Just as with the Star Wars movies, there are two things I don't get:

    -do you really want the first time you see this movie to be on a small screen (yeah, 21" is small for this kind of thing) with crappy quality? Or do you want to see it and be surprised by surround sound with a HUGE screen?
    -I don't really get "freaked out by the piracy" act from the studios either; it's gonna happen, and the people who watch the bad quality rip will see it in cinema's too. If they can afford it...and if they can't, they wouldn't see it anyway.
  • by 6Yankee ( 597075 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @05:08AM (#4852802)

    Thanks to my brother, I *ahem* had access to Episode 1 on VCD about a month before it came out.

    There were three girls on my entire engineering course at the time. One of them was a Star Wars fan, not to mention gorgeous. I happened to mention that I had this VCD, and that night found us lying on my bed in my darkened room staring at a 14" monitor. (I said monitor).

    Can't believe I actually watched that movie, but it was worth it. Unfortunately I was too stupid to take advantage of the situation. Wonder if she's into LOTR? =)

  • Common knowledge (Score:3, Informative)

    by GuidoJ ( 231456 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @05:14AM (#4852840) Homepage
    Having traveled in Asia a couple of times, I know from experience that this does indeed happen. Street vendors in cities like Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur are selling lots of pirated CD's and DVD's. It's quite funny to see them running when the police show up. Many guesthouses and restaurants show movies too. I have seen movies in Asia that hadn't started showing in the theaters in Europe when I came back home.
  • did the exec actually BUY one of those 'dvd's and try if it was really the 'real thing'.

    couple of months ago there was this huge fuzz about two towers being available on kazaa, whilst it isn't. there's just a shitload of fakes.
  • by mwmurphy ( 631277 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @05:27AM (#4852904) Homepage
    It's starting to make a lot more sense to find pirated releases. Damn, someone should tell movies they are pay-per-view and are bastards for putting in ads. Movie previews are OK, since it's cool to see early views of new movies, but I doubt anyone feels that way about perfume ads during a movie they paid $13 to see.

    Another thing that sucks is bar cover charge...I guess they're special but I'd like to see stores like Wal-Mart try to charge cover for the opportunity to shop there.

    • Regal Cinemas has been showing ads before the films for some time now... and I would stop going to them except that: 1) It's the only theater some of our friends will go to, 2) All the other chains are doing it too.

      They recently changed how they were showing the ads though - instead of starting the ads at the listed showing time, they start them about 10 minutes before the movie... of course, you get the "privledge" of watching more ads, but it's better than the slideshow crap. Mostly.

      Not that the movie started any closer to the actual listed time... they replaced the 5 minutes of ads with 5 more minutes of trailers (different ads). Sigh.

      It's gotten ridiculous... you can tack on an extra half hour to any movie now just because of all the previews and junk.
  • I did a scan just out of curiosity on a couple of underground P2P networks, and low and behold, Two towers was available. (No I'm not going to tell you where I found it, but I suspect that most P2P apps will be sharing it soon, if not already)

    I resisted the temptation to hit 'download', as I to would love to see this first on a large screen, with state of the art dolby digital sound. I agree - It's all about the experience, suspense, hype... Watching the movie first on a 15" laptop screen with poorly coded audio and video would destroy the whole buzz for me...
  • by Erpo ( 237853 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @05:33AM (#4852929)
    I'm almost totally convinced this either isn't true or the quality is so bad that a purchaser of one of these dvds wouldn't be able to tell whether or not she got the real thing.

    But just in case...

    This is the only kind of piracy that I actively and vocally oppose. Most of what's labeled as piracy nowadays is simply acting in accordance with the laws of information physics at possible detriment to the financial standing of companies that have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo with regards to content-centric business models. I'm not saying it's good or bad. In fact, I'm saying the exact opposite: when someone copies digital media, legally or illegally, they're simply doing what the laws of physics of information permit. "Piracy" of digital media after it has been sold or rented to the public is as natural and unstoppable as falling after jumping off a cliff. (I.e. It can be stopped, but only through extreme measures like stationing a police officer in every home, or bungeeing [is that a word?] yourself to a crane you've rented for the specific occasion. And even though it can be stopped, that does not take away from the fact that physics still works. Information is still copied in a free society. You still experience the force of gravity when you're hanging from a crane.)

    However, just because information physics doesn't permit the kind of control over information that big media companies would like (i.e. the ability to sell information as a physical good) doesn't mean that they have no control. On the contrary. The one and only way information can be controlled is by keeping it a secret. The one and only way information can be kept secret is by assuring that all entities that have access to that information:

    1. Agree to keep the information secret.
    2. Are able to keep the information secret.

    While DRM schemes like Palladium or SDMI aim to prevent the unstoppable variety of piracy, they cannot do so because they violate #2. DRM system designers may want to keep information a secret even after it enters a consumer's home, but no device is capable of that. (Yes, you could encase every computer in 10 meters of titanium, but if you're going to allow such extreme protection of content in a hypothetical situation, you also must allow extreme resources on the part of the consumer as well.)

    On the other hand, movie companies are very capable (or should be very capable) of keeping a movie secret until its release. If the film didn't leave the care of responsible individuals who care about the profits to be had when it is finally released, bootleg preview copies like the ones mentioned in this article wouldn't exist. You can't sell copies of information you can't get at all.

    It's because of this that I oppose this kind of copying and will never purchase or watch any kind of pre-release copy such as this. This kind of piracy is damaging to both consumers and producers of content, but most importantly it is preventable.

    I'm not saying that I pirate (or support the piracy of) MP3s or rentable movies online; in fact, I'm of the opinion that there is an overall negative impact on the self caused by participating in the unstoppable variety of piracy in a legal system which doesn't allow it. Easy availability of content through illegal means anesthetizes potential activists and prevents them from acting towards greater good. It stops people not from understanding there is a problem with the legal system, but really feeling it to the point where they're willing to act. Want to hear a conspiracy theory? Maybe the content industries are holding back on prosecuting file traders so that they can get more anti-consumer legislation passed before people really start to pay attention.

    Ugh. It's way too late to be evangelizing on slashdot. I'm going to bed.
    • by perfects ( 598301 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @07:05AM (#4853228)
      > Most of what's labeled as piracy nowadays is simply acting
      > in accordance with the laws of information physics at possible
      > detriment to the financial standing of companies that have a
      > vested interest in maintaining the status quo with regards to
      > content-centric business models.

      That's the most absurd statement I have heard since "Information wants to be free".

      How is that any different from saying:

      "Most of what's labeled as burglary nowadays is simply acting in accordance with the laws of mechanical physics at possible detriment to the financial standing of companies that have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo with regards to inventory-centric business models."

      In other words, you are using big, important-sounding words to say "since it is inherently possible to steal, it's not really theft".

      Just because information has no physical reality, and just because it can be copied at virtually no cost, that does not mean that the information has no value.

      IMO that's the key point that most anti-copyright proponents miss: Information Has Value. If it didn't, nobody would want to steal it.

      Secondarily, and just as important: Information costs time and money to produce.

      Third: Companies and individuals often spend time and money producing Information in order to sell it and make a profit.

      Fourth: There is nothing inherently evil about that.

      When you acquire something that has value without compensating the owner, that is Stealing. When you do it in violation of the current law, whether you agree with that law or not, that is Illegal.
  • by weiyuent ( 257436 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @05:37AM (#4852943) Journal
    I bought these plenty of these pirate DVDs on my last trip to China, and the quality varies. You can more or less apply this rule of thumb:

    if the movie hasn't been released on DVD yet, it is usually of the theatre-screening-captured-on-a-camcorder variety. Just like the theatre experience, complete the sounds of the audience coughing and chewing popcorn, but obviously terrible picture and sound quality.

    if the movie has been officially released on DVD, then these are usually perfect copies. The discs are sometimes flawed, though, as they are cheaply laminated. I don't know what their shelf life is.

    If you don't care about the moral issues of piracy, then these DVDs are a great deal. You can expect about one of every three that you buy to be duds, but even then at less than $1 a pop, I ended up with well over 50 movies for less than $100 spent.

  • by t0qer ( 230538 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @05:39AM (#4852947) Homepage Journal

    This is a copy and paste of a response made to a comment I made a while back, it really opened my eyes as to *why* chinese are so into open source. I believe that Chinese frugalness (as explained by the below re-post) is to blame for the rampant piracy of The Two Towers.

    Before I get to the repost i'd like to add in my own link and two cents from the SVCD Faq I read [].

    • The political objectives of the Chinese government. It was decided that DVD - while undoubtedly a good technical specification as such - is all too tightly controlled by DVD Consortium, a closed body of foreign companies. The Chinese government did not quite like the idea that the domestic home electronics industry would have to pay royalties to foreign companies in order to manufacture next generation video disc products for Chinese people. It was calculated that creating a royalty-free, full-fledged video disc format on their own would be a major long-term win for the domestic industry. Moreover, this was also considered an issue of national pride; an opportunity to flex some technical muscle, and to send a clear signal to the outside world that China has enough critical mass to be able to ignore foreign entertainment standards it does not want to conform to. (Chinese politicians and researchers are now keen to celebrate SVCD as the first international high-tech standard that has been developed in China.) Finally, it was also thought that a Chinese video disc standard would help in pressuring the DVD Consortium to keep the licensing fees down, at least for the Chinese market.

    Cool huh? It's a part of their culture folks. How can Hollywood fight an entire culture of 4 billion people?

    The only thing that strikes us Americans as odd is the communist goverment that is in power there. As geeks we are appalled that they would dare install a firewall to protect their people, which in our eyes is a violation of their free speech, but this is what their society just does. How do you convince this culture of 4 billion people that what they are doing is not being frugal but stealing

    It would begin at a goverment level, and the police would have to crack down on the street vendors that bootleg it. Will it happen? I doubt it, from the above snippet of the SVCD faq I bet the goverment is celebrating yet another victory.

    I am, for one. (Re: Are there any Chinese slash..) (Score:5, Informative)
    by DigitalHammer (581235) [] [] <digitalhammer001&hotmail,com [mailto]> on Wednesday August 14, @02:49AM (#4068791 []) Is there any Chinese Slashdotters...that can provide a cultural insight as to why china would be so open to open source?

    First of all I would like to state that I am of pure Chinese descent.

    To answer your question, I believe there are 3 factors that make China very open to open source: Confucianism, the WTO, and Microsoft licensing.

    The centuries-old mentality of being extremly frugal with one's money or possesions. Though this idea is ancient, the Communist government began to encourage the use of this virtue in times of famine and hardship. This article from Time Magazine titled Overeating Dying in China further explains:

    In the early 1980s when some nouveau rich squandered their money on restaurants delicacies and government officials took advantage of their jobs to attend luxurious feasts, a distorted concept was built up in most Chinese's minds: the wealthier one is, the more fatty foods are on your dinning table.

    The grumbles about upstarts' arrogance and the government officials' corruption turned into general disapproval. People began to look favorably at the ancient Chinese maxim which praises abstinence in consumption....Considering the 30 million destitute Chinese struggling in remote mountainous areas and those laid-off work who are living a hard life, traditional virtues like fighting one's way up and building the country through hardship and thrift are still highly encouraged by the Chinese government.

    This frugal ideal, reinvigorated in the minds of mainland Chinese, compounded with ancient Confucian values of filial piety encourage the development and acceptance of open source software over propeitery ones in China. The bit about filial piety applies to the corporate environment of Chinese businesses. Filial piety in Chinese families enforce the younger family members' respect of older ones. This encourages the younger members' to set priorities that value the importance of the older family member (typically the father, mother, and grandparents). Chinese children, raised under this mentality, carry these priorities over to their workplace where they place their upmost importance upon the boss and senior officials (formerly occupied by older family members).

    In most, if not all jobs in China involving internal technology, the IT manager must find software that will create a stable infrastructure while saving as much money as possible. This is where the frugal mentality and the rigid set of priorities converge to brighten the appeal of open source software. Because China is attempting to gain full membership within the WTO, which requires its adherance to strict IP rules, the country began an enormous crackdown on the pirated software industry. Using pirated (MS) software no longer was an option, as it used to be 10 years ago. Another path would be to purchase MS software licenses. However, the thought of accepting the dinosauric financial demands of Microsoft licensing contracts clashed with the frugal mentality prolific with Chinese tech companies, and the set of priorities spawned by Confucian filial piety led them to consider the amount of funds that could be saved and allocated for other departments by not buying licenses. In turn, Chinese techs were left with another option: Open source software, more specifically Linuix. The legal and cost-free nature of the penguin OS became an appealing option to the Chinese techs, and in turn took the opportunity to develop and integrate it in to their corporate infrastructure.

    Chinese cultural traditions of filial piety and frugality are further explained in this excerpt of the site Paul Herbig's Working Papers:

    Chinese Network

    The Chinese commonwealth is a group of small Chinese companies from all over the world affiliated with each other, protecting and taking care of each others businesses. They are also referred to as 'Greater China', or the 'Chinese Network'.

    The survival mentality and the Confucian tradition of patriarchal authority, form the values of a typical Chinese entrepreneur - one who seeks to control his own small dynasty. These so call life raft values are:

    l.Thrift ensures survival.
    2.A high, even irrational, level of savings is desirable, regardless of immediate needs.
    3.Hard work to the point of exhaustion is necessary to ward off the many hazards present in an unpredictable world.
    4.The only people you can trust are family-- and a business enterprise is created as a familial life raft.
    5.The judgment of an incompetent relative in the family business is more reliable than that of a competent stranger.
    6.Obedience to patriarchal authority is essential to maintaining coherence and direction for the enterprise;
    7.Investment must be based on kinship or clan affiliations ,not abstract principles.
    8.Tangible goods, like real estate ,natural resources, and gold bars are preferable to intangibles like illiquid securities or intellectuals properties.
    9.Keep your bags packed at all times,day or night (Kao,p.25).
    Unlike the Japanese Keiretsu, the Chinese network is an open system for all Chinese entrepreneurs all over the world. They watch for each others businesses and help those who are in need. These Chinese entrepreneurs have a give - and - take relationship. The network is usually formed by joint ventures, weddings, political opportunities and common cultures. Ownership of the company are usually passed to relatives, regardless of their educational background or competency (the classic example is An Wang's passing of his company, Wang Computers, to his mediocre son instead of professional managers--which ended in failure). Generation after generation, no matter in what culture they were brought up, every Chinese seeks control and security of their businesses.
    The first Chinese generation has a survival and Confucius mentality. Every business decision is made for the future of the family. Unlike the old generation, the younger generation are born in other countries outside of mainland China. They do not only carry the Chinese culture, but the one they were born in as well. This generation, especially if born in a western country, has a sense of individualism. Companies like Winbond,a high-tech company in Taiwan, which considers themselves to be a Chinese company , believes that you should respect your family and love ones but you have to set your mind on what is right for the company. D.Y. Yang,owner of Winbond, says, A Chinese company depends less on data and more on intuition,feelings,and people. But on the other hand, he also mentions, Of course you have to respect the family business structure, but since this is a high tech company,individual contributions are important (Kao,p31).


    I have heard about the open markets in china where you can purchase bootlegs of any software for near the cost of the CD. If the choice is between M$ at .5 dollars and Linux at .5 dollars linux wins.

    On a side note, frugality, combined with Communist ideals and Confucian values led to the explosive growth of the pirated software and media industry in China, as this essay written by Rutgers Univesity student Sheng Ding explains:

    Confucius's concept of the transmission of culture and Marx's views on the social nature of language and invention arose from very different ideological foundations. Nonetheless, because each school of thought in its own way saw intellectual creation as fundamentally a product of the larger society from which it emerged, neither elaborated a strong rationale for treating it as establishing private ownership interests.[15] Deeply influenced by these two ideologies, China falls behind all developed countries and many developing countries in the field of intellectual property protection. It is also not difficult to understand why most of Chinese did not know what were IPRs in 1980s.

    Well, I am confident that this reply answers your question. More information about Chinese philosophies and other ideals that are involved in China's flourishing open source movement can be found below:

    Paul Herbig's Working Papers [] []

    A Paper on IP Rights in China, by Sheng Ding [] []

    The Chinese Way with Money, an article from the Shanghai Star [] []
    • 4 billion? Pull finger man
    • Though this idea is ancient, the Communist government began to encourage the use of this virtue in times of famine and hardship.

      You mean the famine and hardship created by the Communist government, right?

      Filial piety in Chinese families enforce the younger family members' respect of older ones. This encourages the younger members' to set priorities that value the importance of the older family member (typically the father, mother, and grandparents). Chinese children, raised under this mentality, carry these priorities over to their workplace where they place their upmost importance upon the boss and senior officials (formerly occupied by older family members).

      In the West we have learnt that older does not necessarily mean wiser, and have created an economic and political system that values knowledge and ability rather than seniority. By your argument the janitor should be running the company if he simply stayed there for 50 years!

      These so call life raft values are:

      These values were obsolete in the West in mediaeval times. Incompetent relative over competent stranger? We call that "inbreeding". If China wants to compete, it's got a lot of catching up to do.
      • by glesga_kiss ( 596639 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @08:57AM (#4853814)
        created an economic and political system that values knowledge and ability rather than seniority

        Delusional rubbish. Our economic and political systems are based around two things:

        • How much money you have
        • Who you have the ear of

        With the two of these at your side, you can change the law if neccessary to achieve your goals. If knowledge and ability are important, how can you explain George W Bush?

  • I don't really like cinemas, and its just giving money to a cartel. I'll wait for the the DVD []. I think in the meantime I'll just get the soundtrack [], and make do with the book. Is it available in Adobe E-book [] format?
  • by KarmaPolice ( 212543 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @05:48AM (#4852976) Homepage
    Kinda ironic to read the banner ads on /. today "Lord of the rings - the two towers...only in theaters" - right above the story about LOTR being available on the street. Would slashdot lie to me??
  • by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:09AM (#4853047)
    I've found more than a dozen films on DVD in China, for less than US$2.00 each in the last 9 months, that were available before the movie on screen and/or on DVD.

    Sometimes the quality is of a handheld DV camera...sometimes the subtitles are from another movie. Sometimes they are tagged as pre-release evals. They are always at least worth the $2.00.

    The prices are higher in Beijing...Tianjin is best for price. They are off-street in Bejing. Not at all hard to find in Tianjin...try any of the music stores near the colleges.

    Seems to me the studios should hook up with these guys and find a way so that the consumer can get releases sooner and for a better price :) ...oh, and these are most always region free
  • by greendot ( 104457 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:13AM (#4853060)
    [Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam]

    I haven't seen any LotR DVD's anywhere here. And yes, I do look and buy. ;-) (when in rome..) This is THE movie I want to see. I almost want to fly back to the states to see it.

    As for what movies ARE here.. Harry Potter 2 and Die Another Day showed up on the streets here the day after their release. I haven't been able to watch the DVD's yet cuz my laptop went belly up, but I did get to see a VCD of Harry Potter. It sucked.

    As far as my intentions go, and I tell people here all the time, I will watch all of the movies back in the theaters in the US when I get back... if they're still on. I'm pretty sure the LotR:TT and Potter will be still there, but I doubt Die Another Day will, which makes me kind of sad.

    People here can't understand the western facination with the "theater". People are always asking me what I miss most, and I tell them without evening thinking - the movies. They ask me, "why? You can get any movie for $1 right now and watch it at home!" Then I explain to them them the sheer size of the screen and the massive sound system. The theaters here suck. Very few people go to them. 5.1 surround sound systems run for $20 a pop so everybody has them. Home theaters are what they want.

    Families just can't "go to the movies". A few family members maybe. Getting the family out would require the renting of a car or van.

    Plus, I doubt Hollywood would release movies here. The average income is $50/month and they're not going to spend it on a movie when they have a huge family to feed.

    Hollywood has nothing to worry about here. They're not losing money here because they don't release movies here. Westerners buy a few DVD's because they can't see the movies here. Now, if AMC put a nice big screen here in the middle of Saigon - it would be another story.

    They're a bunch of cry-babies if you ask me.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    So.. they're selling counterfit DVDs in China, and this may hurt the film industry...

    Yeah right... I can't even be bothered to leave the house to buy food...

    Do you really think I'm gonna leave the house, drive to the airport, fly to china, learn to speak chinese, and buy a DVD... all to save 16 hours downloading it from Kazaa;)
  • by mliu ( 85608 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:25AM (#4853101) Homepage
    Haha, I just have to add my 2 cents on this, since I like this story.

    My caucasian friend went to China last year. While there he picked up a bunch of DVDs. He was excited to see that they already had both Two Towers and Return of the King on DVD, as well as Spiderman, which had been out not long in the theaters. He eagerly bought them all at grossly inflated (for pirate dvds) prices, and when he brought him home we popped them in the dvd player together. The Two Towers turned out to be a video of what appeared to be maybe a SCA reunion or something. It was a bunch of guys riding around in goofy costumes on horses. I couldn't stop laughing. He then popped in Spiderman, and as the movie started, the dramatic title of Earth Vs. The Spider came up on the screen. He didn't even bother taking his dvds with him as he left.

    Haha, they sure had nice cases though. That's the key for the pirates: nice, believable cases.

    I'm sure the exec knew that it wasn't actually the TT too, he just wanted to spread some FUD about the evil pirates.

    Man, I could have gotten my story posted on /. and scooped this one by a year.....
  • Last year I had the chance of getting a copy of LotR: the fellowship of the ring way before it was in cinemas here in Italy. To be honest my expectations were so high that I immediately declined, because I wanted to see the film for the first time in the cinema with my friends. And I'm glad I did so. I even bought the DVD a few weeks ago.

    Piracy won't hurt the film industry if they release good material. I wouldn't pay $1 to have a cheap and maybe crappy copy of the new movie. But maybe that's just me.

  • by ewg ( 158266 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:39AM (#4853137)
    No apologies for the content industry, but I think buying pirated DVDs on the street is the cinematic equivalent of eating out of the dumpster.
  • Well,

    The DVDs they offer in South East asia of films that are in the theatres or are going to be are mainly screeners they picked from IRC and brunt it onto DVD (with a minimal DVD frontend).

    If you are lucky, you get decent quality, if not, well, you get the screener quality on DVD :)

    The copies of official DVDs (films that have been released for some time) are digital copies, only at about 1/20 - 1/30th of the European price. This means that from the 25 Euro you pay, 24 goes to dvd production/intermediates and copyright.

    I agree, LotR is not a film you want to see in screener quality ;), nor on a small (computer|tv)screen for the first time.
  • by Zog The Undeniable ( 632031 ) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @07:20AM (#4853275) in a crowded cinema with kids kicking the seats from behind, the stench of popcorn fried in rancid oil and chairs that ensure you can't feel your legs after 3 hours. It's not the perfect environment for a film *that* long.
  • by vaxer ( 91962 ) <sylvar@va[ ].net ['xer' in gap]> on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @07:31AM (#4853310) Homepage
    Robert Sunshine, managing director of CineAsia organizer Sunshine Group Worldwide, told attendees he spotted DVDs of "Analyze That" [] in a Bangkok shop last week.

    Man oh man, I think I'd pay a buck to give that movie back.

Promising costs nothing, it's the delivering that kills you.