The Simspons: ‘Please Don’t Download This Movie Illegally’

Despite its pleas, the movie gets leaked on BitTorrent, the Pirate Bay Goes Simpsons, and yet, despite all it still rakes in big bucks at the box office.

It was a big weekend for Hollywood and News Corps Fox Studios in particular which was looking for the “The Simpson’s Movie” to rake in big bucks at the box office – which it did.

We always hear Hollywood go on and on about how piracy costs the movie industry billions in lost revenue annually and how it costs poor working men and women, overpriced actors and actresses included, lost wages and income but, here we find another example of how the opposite seems to be true.

A CAM of the movie appeared on BitTorrent this past Friday afternoon and many were quick to download and watch it, making studio execs at FOX no doubt nervous about ticket sales and opening weekend profits.

The Pirate Bay even remade itself into the “Evergreen Bay” in honor of the Simpsons, “Evergreen” referring to their address at 742 Evergreen Terrace in the city of Springfield, and quickly hosted one of the first CAMs of the movie to make its way from theaters and onto BitTorrent.

This was despite the apparent pleas in “The Simpsons Movie” itself in which Bart is reprimanded for downloading “this movie” illegally. In his usual scene of writing on the chalkboard countless times what he has done wrong as punishment, he writes that “I will not illegally download this movie.” The subtlety is not lost on viewers I’m sure and was an obvious attempt at getting pirates out from behind their PCs and into the theaters.

Yet, even though “The Simpsons Movie” was leaked and downloaded tens of thousands of times at the very least, Mavens copy alone has averaged about 9,000 leechers on the Pirate Bay, it still raked in big bucks at the box office over the weekend pulling in some $71.9 million in ticket sales.

“We are ecstatic,” said Chris Aronson, senior vice president for distribution at 20th Century Fox. “It far exceeded even the most optimistic of expectations.”

So what does this mean about piracy and the incessant fears of Hollywood that P2P will cripple it just as it has the record industry?

I think what it proves is the fact that just because somebody downloads a movie illegally doesn’t mean that that person would’ve necessarily otherwise purchased a ticket and seen the movie legally. With the countless number of movies released each week it’s truly impossible to see them all, and only those which truly appeal to a person will he then go see at the theater.

But, what may be critical for the movie industry is those movies which a person wouldn’t see at theaters but, would download and watch from home. This person is the one that will tell family and friends what he though of it and whether or not it’s actually worth buying a ticket to see. It used to be that a person couldn’t tell if a movie sucked so quickly, and so many were regularly tricked into watching a movie not worth the price of admission and were essentially ripped off by movie studios looking to make a quick buck rather than a decent movie.

Now movies like “Wild Hogs” or “The Incredible Hulk” are avoided in a New York Minute thanks to early reviews by people who have already downloaded and watched the movie for themselves.

It may be bad for the movie industry but, it’s good for consumers who can quickly learn early on whether a movie really is worth his time and hard earned money. It could prove to be good for the movie industry as well because it will force them to finally listen to the audience and make sure that the movies they produce are ones people will actually pay to go see.

Lo and behold, “The Simpsons Movie” was truly worth seeing and therefore it was not surprising that the movie did well at the box office.