Australian horror comedy 100 Bloody Acres was watched by a handful of people in US and Australian cinemas — a tiny fraction of the number who have illegally downloaded the film.
The producer, Cyan Films’ Julie Ryan, said two independent companies that work in the online area estimate the film has been downloaded at least 35,000 times.
“That is three times more than we had thought,” Ryan told IF. “Torrent Tracker doesn't pick up all the bit torrent sites so this figure is on the conservative side.
“These sites can't be shut down and unfortunately we can't tell where in the world this activity has occurred. But we do know that the film was on Pirate Bay the second day of the US release, and we have anecdotal evidence in Australia where people have admitted to downloading it illegally.
”I just hope that some of these people buy the DVD when it releases in their country.” Ryan sees this rampant piracy as a compelling reason to telescope the four-month window from theatrical launch to home entertainment so small Aussie films can be legally downloaded much sooner.
The feature writing and directing debut of the brothers Colin and Cameron Cairnes, the film features Damon Herriman and Angus Sampson as brothers who run an organic fertiliser business using human carcasses.
It opened in the US on June 28 in 15 cinemas and on Video-on-Demand platforms and on six screens in Australia on August 1. Ryan hired Adelaide-based company Convergen to shut down 125 sites which had been illegally streaming the film.
Convergen’s Anton Andreacchio is not surprised at the level of illegal sharing of a film which had a limited cinema release. “If a film is good and people want to see it they will find a way to access it,” he said
Joel Beath of Loud & Clear, the online marketing company that worked on the campaign for 100 Bloody Acres, estimates the number of downloads is higher than 35,000.
He cited one Torrent site which reported 1,762 Seeders (people sharing the file) and 983 Leechers (people downloading the file).
Convergen issues DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown requests to mainstream streaming sites such as YouTube and Done Video to remove down web-based links.
Andreacchio said his firm has helped 15 film and TV producers to take down 30,000-40,000 sites that were pirating titles such as Mary and Max and The Dragon Pearl (a Chinese-Australian coproduction, directed by his father Mario, that was especially vulnerable because it opened first in China).
“We do not claim to be able to take down all pirated content,” he said. “You simply cannot. What we try to provide is a service that allows producers to pragmatically 'do what can be done.'”
Convergen’s film business supports producers in developing content and helping with market placement and packaging, and provides visual effects; it just did 100 VFX shots on David Campbell’s supernatural thriller Lemon Tree Passage.