John Jarratt counts the cost of piracy

John Jarratt is convinced global piracy has severely impacted the B.O. potential of Wolf Creek 2.

The veteran actor reckons he can count the personal cost when he compares his share of the spoils from the original movie with the zero returns he’d had thus far from the sequel.

Six months after Wolf Creek opened in 2005, he got a cheque for $50,000. Eight months after the follow-up opened in Australia he tells IF, “I haven’t made a goddamn cent out of it,” despite having a bigger share of the back-end.

Wolf Creek 2 producer Helen Leake tells IF that investors are getting a return and it’s still early in the film’s earning cycle, with some major territories just opening.

"John is not an investor, we first repay all our investors and marketing costs which is what is happening,” she said.

The actor took to the stage at the Australian International Movie Convention on Wednesday to voice his concerns about piracy, declaring, “People who download films illegally often don’t think about the consequences of their actions, like the possibility of investors losing out and then not wanting to risk financing another project and how that can affect jobs of the people who make a living from this business.”

Jarratt has seen estimates that Greg Mclean’s horror/thriller has been downloaded illegally at least one million times.

He urged the government to act on piracy. "The government put $2 million into Wolf Creek 2 (via Screen Australia) but they are sitting on their hands and looking the other way while the entire industry is falling away," he said. "We’re sick of money being stolen from us.”

Jarratt and fellow filmmaker Jeremy Sims were on hand to support the IP Awareness Foundation's new report that shows online film and TV piracy is rising, with 29% of Australians admitting to being active pirates.

Sims said Beneath Hill 60, which was released more than four years ago, is still being pirated. “If you contemplate even some of that foregone revenue, it may well equate to the difference between a filmmaker’s next feature being funded, or not," said Sims, whose Last Cab to Darwin is due out next August.

At the convention Jarratt showed scenes of StalkHer, a comedy/thriller written by Kris Maric, in which he co-stars with Kaarin Fairfax and makes his directorial debut. He’s looking to launch the film in February/March, with the Backlot Studios handling theatrical bookings.

  1. The most beautiful place on the planet is the mind. Anyone who would pipe raw sewerage such as Wolf Creek 2 into their mind needs help. Anyone who would finance a project like WC2 needs help. Give us great role models on the screen who champion beautiful ideas and watch the piracy dry up. If we sow the wind, we reap the whirlwind.

  2. John Jarrat made an interesting analogy in his ABC interview:

    “If you could download an aeroplane ticket and fly anywhere in the world they’d soon put an end to it.”

    The big difference here however is the DRM-crippled content we’re forced to buy.

    Imagine the only airline tickets you could buy didn’t guarantee a seat. 50% of the time you’d turn up for your flight only to find out you’ll have to stand up the entire flight. And there’s a 5% chance you won’t be allowed to fly at all, and forced to buy another ticket. That’s the equivalent of DRM.

    Piracy is the only way to obtain content in a format that a lot of us want – it’s simply not possible to buy it, even for twice the price!

    The industry’s blind insistence on DRM is killing the industry.

  3. what ever happened to the watermarking of screenings at cinemas. Several years back exhibitors were warned that the distributors could identify at which location a print had been pirated from ? Surely with Digital content this would be an easy process if it was in fact a process at all ? World wide release dates and multi faceted release platforms are surely the way to go.

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