Friday, August 29, 2008

Last on the List

On the other end of the cultural spectrum (though equally high in quality), last night’s entertainment was opening night of the movie WALL-E. Yes, Pixar’s latest blockbuster began showing in Singapore on August 28, two full months after its opening day in the US.

There’s been a lot of tut-tutting about pirated movies, but picture this: You’re a Singaporean with ready access to American TV and the Internet. For a solid month before WALL-E’s “scheduled opening date,” you see the ads, the media coverage, the ecstatic reviews: WALL-E is fantastic. WALL-E is cute. WALL-E is a must-see. Accidentally or not, you’re a victim of the studio’s no-holds-barred marketing campaign to attach this movie to your brain.

So, naturally, when that promised opening date rolls around, you check your movie theater listings for the first showing. But what do you find? Nothing. Maybe a TBA listing in the “films coming soon,” if you’re lucky.

You’d think in these modern times, someone could just FedEx all the film reels out to theaters on the same day (or close to it). But instead, Singapore is often last on the list, with films opening months after the US and other Western countries have seen and forgotten them.

If that doesn’t create a market for pirated movies, I don’t know what does. While the big studios have been busy self-righteously speaking out against pirating, I wonder if it ever occurs to them that they helped set up the whole system in the first place.

No comments: