Pirated WOLVERINE Won't Affect Moviegoing, Most Readers Say
by Michael Doran
Date: 06 April 2009 Time: 04:27 PM ET
POLL: Pirated WOLVERINE and You?
Over the last several days the eyes on the entertainment industry has been on the illegal copies that have surfaced of 20th Century Fox and Marvel Entertainment's latest installment of the X-Men big-screen franchise, X-Men Origins: Wolverine.Finding its way onto illegal bit torrent download websites and subsequently DVD street vendors an unprecedented month before its official theatrical opening on May 1st, the big-budget, Hugh Jackman-starrer may wind up being the highest profile test case yet on illegal downloading and street piracy's effect on box office receipts. The concerns for Fox and Marvel are mostly two-fold:
1.) Will widespread illegal downloading and availability via street vendors keep potential paying customers away from movie theaters? And 2.) Will word-of-mouth based on Internet reviews and message board chatter about the film stemming from illegally viewed copies sway public opinion even for people who haven't seen or plan to see a pirated copy? Executives at the two entertainment giants can breathe a little easier, at least according to the over 4200 comic book readers that took part in Newsarama's latest opinon poll. Asked if and how the availability of pirated copies of the film will affect their plans to buy tickets and see it in a movie theater, well over half of the respondents – which represent one of the film's most coveted potential demographics – said the piracy will have no affect at all on their plans. Nearly half of all respondents (49%) said they had no plans to either view an illegal copy of the film or let any reviews based on pirated copies affect their decision to see it in theaters. All told, 64% said they have no plans to view an illegal copy, the 49% cited above with other 15% percent of the respondents saying advanced reviews based on the illegal copies may affect their decision to see it a theater. Nearly 1 in 5 (19%) of all respondents say they will or may view an illegal copy but that they plan to see in the film in theaters anyway no matter what their reaction is to the pirated version. Another 12% acknowledged they would or may view a pirated copy and allow their own response to dictate whether they choose to see in a movie theater. And finally, just 6% of the readers that responded say they plan to download or buy a pirated copy and have no plans to see the film in theaters directly because of it. In discussion that followed, readers' opinions on the topic were wide and varied. "I never download blockbusters because the big screen experience is important to me, but I voted the 'might watch and I will still see it' option because I don't have any moral objection to it," wrote reader 'Dalarsco'. "I won't lie," wrote 'Ace', representing one of the worst case scenarios for the film's producers. "The fan reviews have already made me a lot less excited about it. We might see it but I'm not going to go out of my way for it now." "This has absolutely no influence on me whatsoever," wrote 'Jawafather', conversely representing the best case scenario. "I will pay my hard-earned money to see the film, and I will decide whether I like it or not based on my own experience watching it." Finally, 'BlueBeetleIII' might have had the most unexpected response to the poll - "I wasn't really planning to see it," the reader wrote. "Now I may just because I hate the illegal downloading crowd." Executives at Fox and Marvel can only hope there are thousands of more moviegoers like him that share this sentiment. Related: READER POLL: Will Illegal Copies of 'Wolverine' Affect Your Plans to See It in Theaters? Newsarama's Wolverine Page