Why The LEGO Movie Is Piracy-Bait For Australians

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.

WATCH MORE: Entertainment News


    I'll just wait till it's on Blu-Ray on Amazon UK. I no longer pirate anything. I have Netflix and Hulu. Wouldn't be surprised if the movie comes up on Netflix before the Australian release date.

      I'd be very surprised, I love my Netflix, but cmon, new movies? :p

      But using Netflix and/or Hulu in Australia is still against the T&C, so you could be banned at any time with no hope of refund for subscriptions.

        I subscribe to Netflix and if they decided to ban all non American users the most I would lose would be that month's subscription fee (approx $10.00)
        Somehow I think I could live with that.

          ... Kind of besides the point @greenlego is making. You are currently forced to break a civil law contract with this company in order to enjoy things you should be able to enjoy as a paying customer without persecution.

          But that's fine. If you are happy to lay down your arms and be considered a second rate global citizen, so be it.

        I personally use Netflix and Hulu over torrenting, not because it is illegal to Torrent, but because I still want to pay and support content creators. It is also the same reason I don't use AdBlock on Youtube.

          Wouldn't they still get the money, because it goes by views?

          Wouldn't Youtube be the one to lose money, not the content creators?

        Refund? My $8/month? Think I'll take my chances.

        But it is only a few dollars if you really do get banned and the amount of movies you watch off it will be worth it.

        I'll rather just getting my account suspended than being thrown in jail for copyright breaches .

          Not gonna happen on a sole end-user level. No need to be so fearful.

      using hulu and netflix in Australia IS piracy they are not legally allowed to distribute the content here, so yes you are a pirate even if you are paying for it

    I downloaded The LEGO Movie Videogame the other day from the U.S. Xbox One Store. Very disappointing that the movie won't be out in Australia until April. Looked for movie torrents the other day if I am honest, only found a Spanish cam version though.

    Given it's a two month delay there will probably be HD rips on torrents before it's even released here.

      Yep, either HD or DVD or BR rips. Why bother with shakey cams?

        Or at the very least a Telesync or DVDScreener rip

          Was the same thing with Green Lantern - by the time I saw adds at the movies for it, I've seen it 2 months ago from the comfort of my theater chairs.

            How many chairs were you sitting on?

              2 ofc. It's a double chair, and you can lounge across both if you feel like it.

                Aaahh sorry, you misinterpreted my reply. I don't care, was just highlighting that you were bragging to total strangers on the internet ;)

                  Isn't that what the internet is for? I mean, other than porn ofc...

    "Releasing The LEGO Movie at that time guarantees that it’ll do huge family movie business, especially given the hype it has garnered internationally"

    Except by that stage, everyone here would have already seen the pirated version. It kinda sux, because i would love to support these local guys but im not going to wait 2 months to pay 27 dollars at the cinema.

      I think you overestimate how many people pirate movies. Especially their target audience, which are kids. It will be released around the school holidays for that reason. The number of kids at heart 20-30-somethings who pirate the movie will be nothing compared to the wave of children running through the cinema doors come opening time.

        I wouldn't be surprised it today's kids have created their own private Internet of sorts. Why pirate when you can !kblamr?

        You forget the parents who download movies FOR their kids. Whole family goes to movies: at least $40 for an average family of 2 parents and 2 kids. Downloading at home: Saved $40 for entry and another 20 for snacks, plus you can pause whenever you want and go to the bathroom without missing a thing. I think, those $60 you saved will pay for your internet, popcorn and the power you use up at home easily.
        Don't get me wrong, I am not promoting movie piracy, but I understand people who do it and their reasons too.

          $40 for a family? Where do you go go for movies that are so cheap?
          Something like a family pass alone is $47.
          Buying the tickets individually will set you back about $70.
          This is just from a quick look at Event Cinemas.
          But yeah price is the real issue for familys these days,

            I'd pay $47 for my family, if it included all you can eat popcorn and drinks. Seriously drinks and popcorn must cost about $1, and they charge $10 each. Should be part of the experience.

            Also Foxtel, main reason for piracy. This movie just encourages it further.

            If you're a Telstra, Optus or RACQ (in QLD) member you can generally get tix for $10.

            South Bank Cinemas in Brisbane the most expensive tickets are $8.50 for 2D and $11 for 3D which includes glasses, there is always event cinemas though, they cost an arm and a leg, and thats only if your lucky, $2.50 or so bus ride and then movie on the cheep, hop over to the city for lunch, not a bad deal IMO, still gonna download the movie though, not going to wait forever to watch a movie that is out already in the states


            I said AT LEAST :)
            I went on a Saturday and a ticket was $10.50 per adult, so kids would be a tad cheaper. Movies was Birch, Carol and Coyle.

              Um, Village Cinema adult tickets are $19.50, I'm not sure how you are paying such low rates. Melbourne cinema tickets are wildly expensive, for my partner and I to go the tickets are $39, then two drinks and popcorn will set us back another $14 approx, that is over $50 for two people. It is pretty disgusting pricing. Go to Village Cinemas, select a movie, and a session (not a Tight Arse Tuesday session), and see for yourself.

              But the point remains, most of us are willing to pay for movies, and watch them online or in the cinemas, if we haven't heard all about them through the constant internet chatter. We can't wait 54 days, seeing images from films, and memes of Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones that make jokes of the key plot points.

          $40 for 2 adults and 2 children? In Australia? You're joking right? I still don't understand how Birch Carole and Coyle, or Event Cinemas (or what ever name they go by now) still justify charging so much per ticket and blame low sales on pirating. Cineplex which is a lot smaller in terms of numbers (but with bigger screens), is almost have the price and generally has full cinemas.
          There is a reason I have a large blueray collection but hardly ever go to the cinema.

        You would be suprised. Theres been more than one occasion my son has told me that they watched certain movies due to rain at primary school, that I knew to be "yet to be released" teachers either dont know or dont care what kids bring in, or are players :)

      $27? What kind of ritzy cinema do you go to?

        Well that's the cost of 1 adult ticket and the smallest popcorn/drink combo offered by Village down in Tassie.

          You can get movie tickets for $10 from pretty much anywhere these days. Only suckers pay full price.

            grantguest is right... Telstra or Optus offer $10 movie tickets... I'm suprised anyone pays $27 for a ticket...

              You city folk may be able to get such cheap tickets, but in the country it's always full price.

                Errr sorry jcrow, but you are completely and utterly wrong. I live in the middle of nowhere and full price tickets are $14

              Hey, can you be a bit more clear please? How does someone buy cheap tickets from phone companies? This is something I haven't heard of. You said you buy them from Telstra and Optus.. are you talking about buying them in their stores, or going to their webpage and proving you are a customer for a cheaper ticket voucher? Thanks

    It's being delayed, not because of public holidays, but because there will be lots of kids on *school* holidays during April. I can see why they're doing it from a money-making perspective, and it's not the first movie to be significantly delayed until the school holidays, but it's a policy Warner and other distributors should rethink in these torrenting times.

      Exactly, same as why your big disney family movies release in America in October etc get held over for December/Boxing day releases here as well.

      I was actually wondering why the film was being delayed, and this sounds much more likely than anything I could think of. Thanks. :)

      I was disgusted and mystified, now I'm just disgusted.

    It is disappointing as it looks freaking awesome but also pretty annoyed have to wait until April. This is one of those movies i don't want to watch a crappy torrent just to see it sooner.

    I have to say it.

    Fuck the fact we have holiday's.

    Global release for everyone and you will see a spike in profit.

    Despite what movie studio's believe most aussie's are allowed to see movie's anytime of the year not just when holiday's come around.

    Treat us like adults and we won't act like children.

      Amen to that mate. We pirate because we are the last ones to get stuff. Why do we have to wait days or weeks or even months for our favorite shows and movies? Air them in OZ first, and the whole problem would be solved.

      Not to mention the fact kids only just went back to school a week or two ago, it's not like the homework is piling up already.

        Why didn't they release it in Oz before the kids went back to school given that it was only a couple of weeks ago? Probably because the rest of the world would've kicked up a stink (i.e. USA).

    I'd dispute the premise that any (suggesting all) Australians download content because of impatience.

    It seems to me that a considerable portion of them download content (TV shows, movies, games etc) out of a sense of entitlement - "Why should I have to pay?".

      There's entitlement, and then there's ENTITLEMENT.

      Take for example Game of Thrones. It's less "Why should I have to pay" and more "Why should I have to give hundreds of dollars to a media monopoly only to have to wait months ANYWAY." Yes, it's rather entitled to not get it legally so you don't have to pay, but if it was EASY to get it legally, then you can bet a lot more people would.

        Yep. When it was on itunes, it was easier to pay the quite reasonable price than it was to try and find a torrent or whatever. I happily subscribed on itunes, the day after it showed it had automatically downloaded and I could just press play.
        But I'm not going to get a Foxtel subscription to one show, that is ruined by spoliers if you watch it more than a few days after release. So they make it harder to pay for, and people go back to pirating. Stupid.

      Sort of. If I use a PVR to record a free-to-air TV show, cut out the ads and stash them on my hard-drive for later, isn't this the same as downloading? Only difference being, instead of getting in 6 months' time, I get it now. It's more of a "I'll get it eventually, so why not speed up the process?" type of entitlement.

      Same goes for where I work. We have a license (screenrights license, I think it's called?) that lets us record a show from free-to-air or pay TV, cut out the ads and make it available for viewing at any time by nearly 1,400 students (online, or via an app on their device). We can even download shows and movies from other schools or burn copies of videos for them to have.

      Again, time is of the essence to this, but the way I see it, no revenue is no revenue, whether it's now, next year or 10 years down the track.

      Meh, I was a massive pirate, with a huge server at home full of TV shows. Absolutely no need for that now with Hulu and Netflix, the only things I pirate now are HBO and AMC shows. It was definitely a case for me if it was easier to get things legally at a reasonable price, I'd stop pirating. It costs me $22 a month for Hulu and Netflix, while it would cost me what, $75 a month for foxtel + a single package of my choosing, and then still be locked into their schedule and listen to yelling Australian ads?

      Nope. Flat-out generalisations don't work, especially when it takes the form of either; assuming all policies and practices by corporations are just or people doing things differently so they're wrong. (which makes you good) Do some research, find answers. That's how it works. Don't welcome ignorance and pre-emptive judgement. Inoculate yourself from garbage-brain ASAP.

      The thing about entitlement is that some of it is fully justified. Giant multinational corporations pushed for globalisation and free trade and they don't seem to understand it works both ways. The price of these goods is not set by physical constraints of shipping or manufacturing, the price should be consistent because there are no longer multiple markets.
      Netflix for example works fine for many australians without additional work or effort on the part of netflix, therefore telling us that we should sign up to demonstrably inferior services such as foxtel or quikflix which cost more is an artificial trade barrier and quite frankly crazy to a rational individual.

      People pirate for a lot of reasons, but I think on the whole, anyone's reason will probably have something to do with the fact that it's faster, cheaper, easier, and better quality.

      Pick one. Pick many. Whatever.

      You would think the fuckheads in charge would try to do something to limit those factors to maybe just the cheapness factor instead of ceding superiority to pirates in every possible metric, but I guess they know something we don't.

    its definitely school holidays they do it with kids movies around now all the time,

    Would it really kill the cinema's here to release it now for a limited run and then take it away till school holidays or something like that, even if they dont want to spread the advertising budget out minimal to no advertising, and global internet advertising would bring the crowds without kids easy, my mates and i want to see it already from what weve seen on the internet alone and we arent about to wait till april to see it

      The cost to cinema companies is too much money to do short releases. They need the bums on seats to recoup their cost of leasing the movie from the distributor.

    You should seek comment from Warner Brothers (actually, I think it's Roadshow in Australia) as to what they think about this assessment.

    Who the hell even wastes their time watching cam rips these days? It isn't 1998. Anyone that does almost certainly wasnt going to pay for it in the first place.

      I don't understand why these exist? Why do people actually want to watch a shitty cam? Is it something about seeing it earlier? Wait just a little and see it properly. Cams ruin movies. I will never ever download one and refuse to watch them.

        If you know where to look you can source DVD-quality review copy rips, but they can be hard to find. It's usually not on the 'bay', which is basically the facebook of piracy now.

        Edit: I also do not know, cannot find them reliably. A girlfriend used to source this stuff. I never asked how she got it, she liked being the one to provide it.

        Last edited 13/02/14 11:55 pm

          Yeah, dvdrips only.

          I was just wondering why Cams exist and people watch them. That is what I cannot understand.

            Heh. I misunderstood the 'why do people watch them'. My angle was, "They watch them because it's all they know how to get their hands on," but now I see you were going with the , "Purity or nothing," angle.

            Nah, people get impatient, which makes them desperate. Any port in a storm and all that.

      Well, to be fair, it's DAMN hard to avoid spoilers for insanely popular movies these days (Like the Lego Movie). If it's released in the same week everywhere, fair enough, people who download it don't have an excuse. But for us here, two months later, it's hard to enjoy a discussion of a movie online when everyone has talked it to death before you even have a chance to see it.

        ...because you'll be sooo dissapointed to find out that which little plastic man wins. It's the one on the poster.

          There's punch lines to jokes in the movie that would be spoilt, trying very hard not to give them away

        Trust me man, if you want to avoid spoilers to ANYTHING, just don't look for them. Or if you see them don't read them/watch them. I've avoided countless BioShock Infinite and GoT spoilers (I'm trying to finish BioShock and get around to start watching GoT) Hell, I even avoided the ending of of Breaking Bad and HIMYM, not even I know how I avoided those spoilers...

    I won't be taking my kids to see it at the movies if this is how they want to treat us.

    I have a mega sound system and a brilliant HD projector, all I am waiting for now is a HD torrent to come out.

      Spends thousands of dollars on hifi gear.
      Too cheap to buy $20 bluray.

        It's not that - it's the fact that the bluray will be out in the US while it is still in cinemas over here

          If only there were some kind of 'information superhighway' that you could use to order goods and services from the US and have them 'delivered' to you.

            If only Blu-ray disks were not region coded that might make your comment look smart and valid.

              If only Sixpax understood ironic sarcasm.

        If you buy it after the 2 month delay all youre doing is encouraging these companies to continue treating us like this.

    If the April school holidays is the reason to delay the release, why didn't they just premiere it here in Australia, when the school holidays was still on in January? I'm sure the final print would have been ready to go by the end of January.

    So the excuse of waiting until the next school holidays don't make sense.

      Then they would have had to compete with the disney/pixar juggernaut that was frozen.

      Rarely do we get world premieres for non-australian movies. We made it here but most of the voice actors are Americans and there ain't any cute marsupial characters (I'm sure a cat unicorn is not native).

      Ready to go by the end of January?
      That's not very useful to cinemas if the start of Term 1 for most youngsters was late Jan anyway.

    This shits me because foreign language versions are being released before we see it. There is no reason for that much of a delay. I have no want to see it but I hope people pirate the shit out of it.

    Wait, APRIL? I'm sure I saw that the release date was Feb 16, i.e. next week! Was eagerly looking forward to this!

    Damnit, that does it!!!

    Another dumb decision by Warner Brothers. It'll cost them.

    Christ, I thought we were done with this garbage.

    What ever happened to that thing called "Patience"?

      It's still here, but tell me how patient you are when the mailman delivers mail to every house on your street, state and country before you because he's hoping that you'll tip him $5 in 3 months time when you've nearly forgotten what it was like to receive mail and are begging to get it once more.

      On a more serious note thou, I don't think we've all lost our patience, we've just started living in a world where I can send a movie from here to America in about 3 hours from the comfort of my home and my "crappy" ADSL2+ connection. In this world content delays aren't cause by real problems like shipping time, cost of freight etc., instead it's caused by big companies wanting to be bigger by screwing over huge chunks of the planet in the process.

      When I subscribe to a few movie review channels on Youtube and have seen endless discussion about a movie made in Aus thats being delayed purely for greed I have 0 patience.

    I watched the trailer, and I couldn't believe how terrible this movie seems to be.

    LEGO is a worldwide icon. This movie is a disaster.

      Seen it in a cinema. Worth it. Going again with the kids when it's released (unless tempted by HD digital copies)

      Random commenter on Giz believes movie might be bad based on the trailer.
      Rotten Tomatoes lists average review score at 95%.
      Yeah, I think I'll pass on your barely informed assessment.

    Another big issue is the price of movies in Australia. $15 for a ticket, plus then another $10 at least for popcorn and a drink.

    I remember I went to the States and saw a new release movie at a big cinema chain for $7! The funniest thing was when an American guy next to me leaned in and said "Geez they've increased the movie prices again".

    Yeah yeah, higher minimum wage, better standard of living rah rah rah, but over 2x the price for a new release movie? Crazy.

      You know that popcorn and drinks aren't mandatory, right?

      'yeah yeah, higher minimum wages, better standard of living'... BUT WHAT ABOUT MY EIGHT BUCKS?!


      I just hope you don't complain to the people at the till about the prices.

      the amount of shit i get for something i can't control, complain to the head offices and get ignored, don't bother us who are trying to work and make things awkward.

      ( sorry to rant, you probably aren't like that, I'm just a disgruntled employee :P )

      Ever heard of a backpack? Go to the supermarket before the movie or bring food from home, 95% of cinemas won't even ask. Half the time I bring my damn lunchbox into the cinemas and no one suspects a thing.

    Release delays are the excuse many pirates give to their actions. In reality it's that they have no intention to pay. I know many friends across many demographics and incomes and out of about 70 of them there are only 2 of us that pay for content.

    Australians simply have the mind set that they are owed by society. It's in our culture that it's deserved.

      That is crap, make it easy to pay, and most people will. Look how many people are on Netflix. It is good value, and so people pay rather than pirate.
      Release the shows here in the same timeframe, make it easy to watch and pay a reasonable price for and people won't be arsed trying to torrent the things.

        Lol. Foxtel is dead easy to sign up and pay for but.... records were still broken for piracy of the show in Australia. Ease of purchase is NOT the issue. Australian's have an unjustified feeling of entitlement.

    That $40 is just for the popcorn. It costs $100 for a family of 4 to watch a moive at the cinema.

    No matter wether it's a feeling of self entitlement or a stand against the apathy towards the Australian consumer, it's a choice to pirate movies, and distributors should look at ways to positively influence the factors behind them.
    We are not a market that anyone but local companies care about, and the economy of scale (big country, small population) means we are not a consideration to their profit margins (although gratefully accepted).

    Until local distributors can influence the primary distributors with their local concerns (they can't) the choices by a largely tech savvy nation with access to pirate copies easier than cost effective streaming will continue to follow current trends.

    The big idea they could have would get off there ass and be innovative, and lead trends rather than just follow the American ideas. How about a short run cinema release of Game of Thrones episode on the night it's released in America?

    According to Warner Brothers, the distributor of The LEGO Movie won’t land in Australia until 3 April

    The distributor of the movie won't land until 3 April? What?

    Lose just one comma and a sentence makes no sense. How about proofreading your work before publishing it? That's called 'professionalism'.

      Welcome to Gizmodo, enjoy your stay in anti-proofread land.

      I see no problem with that sentence, tbh

        Really? Why would anyone care when the distributor lands?

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