Australia May Enter A New Age Of Piracy As Movie Delays Continue

Australia May Enter A New Age Of Piracy As Movie Delays Continue
Image: Columbia Pictures / Sony

Long ago, Australia had a massive problem with piracy. In fact, we led the charge for pirating TV shows like Game of ThronesSince local streaming services made television series and films more accessible, this problem has lessened — but Australia may be about to enter a new phase of piracy as cinemas reopen… sans the latest blockbuster movies.

Australia’s piracy problem has always been about access. The drop-off in piracy following the launch of select streaming services makes that pretty clear. When films and TV shows are accessible and reasonably priced, Aussies are only too happy to fork out to access entertainment. But if films and TV shows aren’t available at all, that’s when the problem surfaces.

As cinemas across Australia’s east coast reopen, moviegoers are expecting to tune into the latest blockbusters, in line with brand new U.S. movie releases. Venom: Let There Be Carnage, No Time To Die and Dune are all set for an October release in the U.S., with Dune also hitting streaming services.

But in Australia?

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is set for November 25.

No Time To Die will release on November 11.

Dune is delayed by a whopping three months and won’t arrive in Australia until December 2.

Given Dune is also launching on HBO Max (a precedent from The Suicide Squad), it’ll likely hit torrent websites the minute it goes live on the U.S. streaming service. For Australians looking forward to the film, weighing a three-month, spoiler-filled wait against committing piracy will be a challenge.

Now, I’m not endorsing piracy at all. In the end, it harms the entire movie industry — and in the case of HBO Max, there is a workaround.

But in an era where spoilers are rampant on the internet and every passing day makes it more difficult to avoid them, asking Aussies to wait an entire three months for Dune (or asking them to fork out for a VPN and HBO Max) is a big ask.

A similar fate awaits The Matrix Resurrections, which is set to land in cinemas and on HBO Max on December 16 in the United States.

It’s arguably one of the biggest blockbusters of the last few years, and it’ll have a rabid, talkative fanbase online. In Australia, the movie won’t release until January 1, 2022, an agonising two-week wait.

As with Dune, the temptation for piracy may prove too much for some.

The unfortunate thing about this whole affair is the solution is simple and we’ve already seen it working in the past: release movies simultaneously around the world. While this year’s situation is complicated by cinema shutdowns in New South Wales and Victoria, change is on the horizon. Plans for easing lockdown in New South Wales mean cinemas will be open in the next few weeks.

Yet none of the new blockbusters will be available in Australia until weeks (or months) after their U.S. releases.

Box office numbers are a major concern for studios and it’s likely the pandemic shutdowns induced these knock-on delays, but as we get back to whatever ‘normal’ is these days, the movie schedule should return to some normality, too. Frankly, it sucks that we’ve slipped back into an era where Australians have to wait ages for the best popcorn flicks. That’s something that should’ve stayed firmly in the past.

If you’re looking forward to any of the upcoming films, you’ll have to stay patient and keep an eye out for news. Release dates could still shift, but unfortunately it’s looking a lot like Australians will get the short end of the stick for movie releases this year.