It’s award season here in SoCal. It used to be theaters would be reserved for members of the Academy to screen potential Oscar nominees. So last century!

Now it’s all done on DVD (also last century, but beside the point right now). They are called ‘screeners.’

My secretive friend from the Valley, being a member of the Academy, has a pile of screeners on the dining room table. Think Bit Torrent, but with physical media!

Each DVD is visually encoded. Should a copy appear online in any form it can be traced.

No problem. I watched two on my laptop last night: Flight and Zero Dark Thirty.

Flight first. A disappointment to me. I wanted more a techno movie. Instead it was mainly about Denzel Washington’s character’s alcoholism.

Actually, both movies were somewhat disappointing because neither was what was sold in the trailers and commercials. You see that too often. They sell the movie that should have been made, not the one that was.

Zero Dark Thirty is a fictionalized account of the capture of Osama bin Laden. You know the Special Forces scenes in the commercial? That’s about three quarters of the way in!

The movie was a sales pitch for the efficacy of torture. Maybe torture works. I’d rather believe it didn’t.

Having read Peter Bergen’s excellent book I was ready for a different story than I got.

It’s a tall pile. I’ll watch more tonight.

Oh, and I’d like to thank the members of the Academy for this honor.

11 thoughts on “Screeners”

  1. Most screeners are online if copyrighted or not, a quick google search now and i could find 8 of the top 10 movies in screener form, the people posting these are either not bothered about being caught or more likely have found a way to circumvent the system. ok these are all illegal downloads but they must loose millions of dollars at this time of year, because for as long as i can remember at oscar season all these dvd screeners have been put online. It seems for every person working on the copyrightable issue there is 10 more trying to break it. I wonder how long this system will last in all honesty……..

    1. I wonder how much they’re really losing, though? How many of the people who are willing to watch a movie on a laptop screen for free would actually pay the $10(plus) to go to a theater? If anything, I think most of them would wait for PPV, Netflix or the DVD. Not that the movie companies aren’t losing something that they would make on those alternate forms of viewing, but that has to be somewhat offset by the “buzz” and word of mouth of the downloaders recommending movies to friends who do go out to see them.

      1. well just one screener, the hobbit has over 49,000 people seeding it on a well known site…. thats 1/2 a million bucks at $10 a time, and when i go to the theatre its usually a 30-40 buck experiance after buying all the paraphanalia that goes with it…….

        1. Simon, you’re missing my point. There may be 49,000 people watching the Hobbit for free online, but how many of those people would actually pay to see it in the theater if it wasn’t online? There are an awful lot of people who simply can’t afford that 30-40 buck experience who aren’t going to go to the theater regardless. And by the same token, there are people who will willingly pay to get the big screen/surround sound experience despite being able to watch for free on their computer.

          Yes, there’s surely some lap between the two “markets” – but there’s no way that all (or even most) of those 49,000 people would have paid to see the movie regardless.

  2. on Liberty or R’n R – Mr. Weatherman, get back to work. Why is Britain having the biggest snowfall, shrimp are dissappearing in new england and Australia is at 45 DEGREES ? WTF [most people don’t care so Why The Face?]

  3. One of my former students works in the industry and gets screeners. He will actually go out and watch a movie in the theater to see what the audience reaction is cause that’s part of the ‘experience’. I am really proud of him.

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