By David Poland email@example.com
Another Early Screener Break
Word came through another web journalist that Universal’s American Gangster has already hit the internet.
In spite of perception out there, it is still fairly unusual for films to turn up weeks before theatrical release. Now and again, a copy of a film being distributed internally at a studio and shared with vendors working on the film will pop up, loaded with timecode and other frame-breaking images in order to discourage piracy or any other recreational viewing. But for the most part, the studios have kept pretty good hold of their films before prints are shipped. Once prints are out there, it is inevitably a matter of hours before the first off-screen bootleg appears on city streets for $5 or less.
The studio is already on the hunt in this case, but it does remind those of us who are in the business of seeing films before release that all those irritating and, for some, personally insulting security precautions in screening rooms and theaters with recruited audiences do have a purpose.
I always think that 10 of us – who the distributor knows and has invited into a room way too small for anyone to run a camera without others seeing and hearing it – being monitored by men with goggles is a bit much. But corporations infamously can only move at one speed and “secure” is the one that is responsible to shareholders these days. And really, the guys at SEM and other security firms hired to do these events have gotten to know those of us who attend regularly by sight and have a more relaxed attitude, I find, when we see them for the third time in a week. They know we are not the danger. (That was kind of like asking for a strip search the next time, huh?) But still, the problem continues.