Hurt by illegal downloading

“Blurrier! For the love of God, blurrier!”

“Blurrier! For the love of God, blurrier!”

It was widely reported last week that Voltage Pictures, the production company behind last year’s Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker, was planning to sue 5,000 people accused of illegally sharing the film on the Internet.

Kathryn Bigelow’s critically praised movie grossed only $17 million domestically, and this feels like an attempt at ringing a few more bucks from a picture that never genuinely captured the public. Five thousand tickets at 10 bucks a pop is still only $50,000, but you can bet the damages sought by Voltage will far exceed the costs of a mere movie ticket.

Studies show that people still see movies they’re truly interested in regardless of whether they’re available for free online, so maybe people just had no desire to pay for The Hurt Locker in any form. This suspicion is backed up by the pitiful grosses of nearly every non-Hobbit-based war film since Platoon (and the fact that most military folk I’ve talked to think the movie is complete horseshit).

This lawsuit may bring changes, but the cessation of illegal downloading and file sharing will not be one of them. It also won’t affect grosses; Hollywood has survived the Great Depression, the Paramount decree, three Rush Hour movies and “the Michael Sarrazin era”; it can abide LimeWire.

Anyway, if an entire generation grows up believing that movie content is a worthless commodity, it’s the studio’s fault for making worthless content in the first place (side note: fifth Terminator movie coming soon!). The modern theatrical experience is all sizzle and a CGI steak, voiced by Liam Neeson.

“Experience”-based gimmicks like 3-D glasses and D-Box seating provide something that can’t be downloaded onto your desktop, but they can’t disguise the fact that Sex and the City 2 would play just as poorly at home as a blurry, pixilated bootleg.