Ask any Aussie why they pirate their favourite shows rather than support them on TV and you'll always get a slightly different version of the same excuse: "because it took too long to come out here". It's the same with Game Of Thrones, Breaking Bad and Top Gear. And with Agents of Shield. And The Walking Dead. And so on. None of these TV shows have gone quite as far as The LEGO Movie though: despite it being made locally, Australia and New Zealand are two of the last countries to see the film in cinemas.
The LEGO Movie is already out in the US and it's doing massive business, racking up an initial weekend box office of $77 million in North American cineplexes alone.
It's the story of an ordinary LEGO man being mistaken for a MasterBuilder and being enlisted to help defeat an evil LEGO overlord. It's currently rated at 95 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, and it's delighting people of all ages.
That's what you know.
What you don't know is this:
It took over two years just to shoot it in a studio in Sydney and their hard work is now being seen all over the world. And eventually, Australia will see it too.
According to Warner Brothers, the distributor of The LEGO Movie won't land in Australia until 3 April: 54 whole days after its US release. And it gets worse than that.
Other countries getting The LEGO Movie before Australia include all of Latin America and the Carribean, all of the Middle East and Africa, most of our Asian Pacific neighbours, and every major market in Europe. Hell, coming in dead-last with a release date of April 17 is New Zealand. Poor buggers.
Here's some perspective: if you watched The LEGO Movie once per day in every single country it was showing in, the film would have only been out in Australian theatres for 9 days upon your return.
That's enough to have any Aussie spit bricks. Tiny bricks.
The likely justification for delaying the release of one of the best reviewed movies of the year is probably due to our holidays. In case you haven't figured it out yet, April is basically a public holiday month for Australia with Easter and ANZAC Day public holidays falling around the same time. Releasing The LEGO Movie at that time guarantees that it'll do huge family movie business, especially given the hype it has garnered internationally.
Stars will probably come down to Australia to do a press tour and delight locals, and everyone will be all smiles. But that still doesn't justify the fact that an Australian-made film is kept from the country where it was birthed for almost two straight months. Least of all to a pirate who wants their movies yesterday.
CAM copies — that is: someone pointing a camera at a screen to record an illegitimate copy — are already running about online for anyone to go and download...
...and there will be more, in better quality, with more seeders and downloaders as time goes on.
Don't be surprised if you read a headline in December that says that The LEGO Movie was the most pirated film of 2014. It'll be Aussies who did it.