Ryan Murray, the Motion Picture Associations's director of content protection, Asia Pacific, delivered a brief presentation on the continuing problem of piracy in key Asia Pacific markets such as China and India.
The biggest problem is that both countries lack proper laws designed to prevent camcording. The MPA is lobbying local authorities to establish new laws, but it's clearly not happening fast enough.
Forensic matches, a process by which the MPA analyzes pirated copies in order to figure out where they came from, have increased by 45% year/year for a total of 119 this year in the Asia Pacific. India has the most with 66, followed by Thailand with 30 and 14 in China.
Pirating in India is largely concentrated in three cities: Ahmedabad, Indore and Ghaziabad. "We're dealing with three well-organized criminal syndicates," Murray warned.
One piracy site that Murray drew attention to is Tom365.com, a Chinese site that allows users to stream films instantly. The page ranks #1,381 in China, according to Alexa.
A question from a member of the audience addressed the lack of legal streaming in the Asia, where sites such as Hulu and Netflix are not available in key markets. Murray answered by stressing the need for a healthy content environment before distributors are willing to establish legit streaming models.
Sunder Kimatrai, 20th Century Fox International's senior vice president, Asia Pacific, broke the ice with the first studio presentation of CineAsia 2012.
Kimatrai began with praise for Life of Pi. Ang Lee's stirring drama has grossed $106 million from 11 Asia Pacific markets. China leads with a staggering $68.2 million, followed by India with $10.4 million. "They weren't kidding when they called this the next Avatar," Kimatrai quipped. The VP pleaded for convention attendees to keep the film on screens as long as they can. "I think we're just getting started," Kimatrai boasted.
The rest of 20th Century Fox's presentation consisted of trailers and extended clips for new films. The reel kicked off with an introduction from Hugh Jackman. The Croods and Epic were featured prominently, and the new footage looks stunning. Kimatrai also touted films that he had no footage for: The Internship with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, The Wolverine, Percy Jackson and the Sea Monters, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty with Ben Stiller and Runner Runner, a drama about the world of online poker with Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake. Of those, The Wolverine and Percy Jackson should post the strongest Asia Pacific numbers.
A trailer for The Sessions received an enthusiastic response from the mostly Asian crowd. Unfortunately, Kimatrai bemoaned, censorship issues will prevent the film from opening in many Asia Pacific markets.
12/10 Update: Life of Pi grossed an actual of $1.276 million in India this weekend. Cume is now $10.43 million.
Previously: 20th Century Fox estimates that Life of Pi pulled $1.3 million in India this weekend, pushing it ahead of the total box office grosses of The Dark Knight Rises and Skyfall to make it the third highest grossing North American release of 2012. The film's Indian tally stands at $10.4 million, behind only Marvel's The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man.
Sunday (12/9) Update: Reliance estimates that Talaash grossed $449,195 during its second frame of North American release this weekend. That puts the film's U.S. cume just shy of $2.4 million.
Monday (12/3) Update: Reliance reports that Talaash grossed an actual result of $1.64 million in its North American debut this weekend.
Previously: Reliance Entertainment reports that Talaash had a solid start in its North American opening this weekend. The film pulled an estimated $1.98 million from 172 locations.
Out of Dubai this weekend comes news that Ang Lee's Life of Pi is opening the 9th annual Dubai International Film Festival. The film is already a big hit in India, where Lee partially shot the film (as well as in Taiwan). The festival is designed as a celebration of 100 years of Indian cinema.