Shrek 2 debuted in wide release yesterday, though probably a bit wider than Dreamworks wanted… Shortly after the first matinees had ended on the East coast, the entire movie was released into private file-sharing networks and then onto Usenet.
The NFO file bundled with the release explains that it’s a new releasing group called MPT, or “Movie Premier Team.” The file claims the movie was released in theaters on Tuesday and on the Internet today, but I saw this posted no later than 4:30PM PST yesterday, which indicates their timezone may be at least eight hours ahead of the U.S.
The video is a Telesync (“TS”), a camcorder video with a direct audio source, usually recorded from in-seat headphone jacks provided for the hearing-impaired. (Without sourced audio, a video is usually called a “Cam” instead.)
The quality of camcorder videos is surprisingly good. This one-minute 10MB sample file was uploaded separately to demonstrate the quality of the complete video. (If you have trouble playing it with Windows Media Player, try the excellent Media Player Classic.)
It’s a testament to the efficiency of the bootlegging community, that a feature film can be captured, encoded, released and distributed on the Internet within hours of its commercial release. For what? As far as I can tell, “MPT” doesn’t get anything more than bragging rights, though their release will inevitably be downloaded and commercially released on the DVD black market overseas, and possibly domestically. Who’s to blame, the non-profit teen playing the releasing game or the big-time bootleggers getting rich off of piracy? Eh, probably both.
Me? I paid a ridiculous $20 to see it on the big screen last night with my wife, but it was worth it… The baby’s due in around three weeks, so it’s the last time we’ll be going to the movies for a while.