Film-makers' real fight is against pirates

Film-makers' real fight is against pirates
Money No Enough starring Mark Lee and Jack Neo

The makers of the action flick KL Gangster 2 were outgunned by pirates who leaked the film onto YouTube and on disc a month before its theatrical release this week.

Singapore film-makers face the same challenge. They tell Life! that while the authorities have clamped down on physical bootlegging, online piracy remains a challenge.

Clover Films managing director Lim Teck, 38, says: "There is no longer the threat of pirated DVDs and VCDs, the piracy is in the form of downloads from the Internet."

He adds that this has dealt a blow to the video market, which is now "almost non-existent". He estimates that the drop in revenue of the films they produce and distribute is about 30 per cent.

The scourge of physical bootlegging of local films was at its peak from the late 1990s to the mid-2000s.

Eric Khoo, 48, who produced the comedy Liang Po Po: The Movie (1999), says that after a preview screening on a Thursday night, there were reportedly 100,000 VCDs available on the street by the following Monday.

He says: "If those VCDs had really come out in those numbers, then it really did impact the box office. We panicked."

The film went on to make about $3.7million at the box office, meeting expectations, "but could have made more without the pirates", he adds.

One of the reasons Money No Enough (1998) and other films "in the earlier period" were spared, he surmises, was because the proliferation of VCDs came only later.

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