I have been thinking about writing this ever since December last year when The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was leaked online. I am no expert on copyright laws and all the legal stuff, but I want to appeal to everyone on moral grounds who would call themselves a fan of Peter Jackson and his incredible contribution towards furthering the world of J.R.R. Tolkien.
I have heard rumours today that The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug has already been leaked online. It was only completed and premiered last night. Now some people would call this the miracle of modern technology. Some would acclaim this move as equality for all, regardless of global location or economic status.
Now I live in Australia. Nearly every country around the world who are receiving The Hobbit in cinemas are releasing the film on December 13. Australia, because we’re so wise, believe that releasing films of Boxing Day is the greatest way to ensure sales as this is the day most people statistically attend cinemas (due to post-Christmas bordem). This is true. However, this does NOT give a satisfactory reason for why The Hobbit movies are all being released on December 26, 13 days after most of the world. Australia is the LAST country in the world to receive The Hobbit other than Poland and Japan. This SUCKS. BUT. This does NOT entitle me to watch the movie illegally.
Yeah, yeah, I know this sort of action occurs every day. Most of my friends would watch movies illegally. But I feel passionately about Lord of the Rings and consequently the Hobbit. And I don’t understand why people shame Peter Jackson by streaming his movies for free.
Now I’ve read reports that Peter Jackson has spent $250 million on making The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug alone. That is nearly the same price as the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy combined ($281 million). This vast money given in trust by New Line Cinema, Warner Bros etc is provided in the belief that they will be paid back when the movies release. If everyone just watches the movie online, aren’t we detracting from Peter Jackson’s worthy reward? Imagine if this became the way of the future. People find ways to stream movies in HD before their release - soon no-one will be attending the cinema. How would you feel if Peter Jackson could make no more movies because he couldn’t pay back his sponsors?
I know this is a very extreme scenario, but it is still an issue. If you call yourself a Peter Jackson fan and wish to see his movies continue into the future, I call upon your better nature to please NOT watch this movie online. Please. I made my stand last year by refusing to reblog any image or gif taken from the illegal version. It was very difficult, as an avid Middle Earth fan, to ignore countless fantastic tumblr posts on my favourite movie, but I morally felt I could not reblog anything that stripped Peter Jackson of his rightful earnings. Even after the film has premiered all over the world, please be patient. It’s not impossible to wait until the DVD is released and you can give back financially to the industry that has so lovingly done us such service.
If you feel strongly about this too, please join me in our resistance of all ‘illegal’ tumblr posts that make use of Jackson’s material before it’s designated time.
This is an open letter to all fans of Peter Jackson and the legacy of J.R.R. Tolkien. Please do not use the illegal streaming.
- From a Peter Jackson fan.
(You are entitled to your own opinions. Please don’t eat me.)