Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pirated discs of 'Transformers' Selling Like Hot Cakes

July 12 – Pirated VCDs and DVDs of Hollywood blockbuster “Transformers” are selling like hot cakes in the Klang Valley and other major cities and towns.

Checks at some of the popular haunts of illegal disc pedlars in Petaling Jaya yesterday revealed that all copies of “Transformers” were sold out in the two or three days since they were available. Customers were told that supply would only be forthcoming in one or two days’ time. One pedlar even had a ‘reserve list’ in which regular customers would be entertained on a first-come-first-served basis.

“Everybody is asking for ‘Transformers’,” one of the disc sellers said. “My stock of VCDs and DVDs of ‘Transformers’ were sold out in just one night at the pasar malam. Almost every customer who came to me asked for ‘Transformers’. The DVDs sold out faster because people prefer DVDs (which sell for RM10 each). I have tried to get more from my agent and friends but they too said that their stocks are either sold out or that they are selling fast and could not accommodate my request. I hope to get fresh supply in one or two days.”

The pedlars claimed that the pirated DVDs and VCDs of the blockbuster are “clear copies”. Asked how the discs of the movie were made (or copied), the sellers said they came from a ‘master copy’ - which usually meant that the movie was illegally copied overseas from a ‘sample’ version for movie buyers and cinema owners.

Another pedlar in SS2 Petaling Jaya said his stock of ‘Transformers’ ran out in just two nights. “Many of my customers had booked the movie weeks ago, way ahead of its release in the cinema. Even those who had seen the movie in the cinema wanted to get the DVD, just for their collection,” he said. “I am also waiting for new supply.”

A DVD-seller who operated from Cheras said such a ‘mad rush’ for a certain popular movie is not uncommon. “When ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End’ was released, it was also sold out and we had to get fresh supply. However, I think the demand for ‘Transformers’ is greater as stocks ran out faster,” he said. “We get this sort of thing when the major blockbusters are released. After two or three weeks, or sometimes a month, the movie is forgotten and customers go for the latest hits.”

Besides “Transformers”, he said that discs of “Die Hard 4.0” are also selling well as the copy is also ‘clear’. Copies of “Die Hard 4.0” had been in the market for more than two weeks although the movie only opened in Malaysia on 5 July.

“We also have ‘Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix’ but I had to warn my customers that the copy is not clear. If they are in a hurry to see it, then they may buy it. I don’t like having my customers returning to me and complain that the discs are not clear or the sound is no good. Then I would be forced to exchange another disc for them,” he said.

The pedlar from Cheras also agreed that these days, people preferred DVDs to VCDs as the picture and sound are much clearer than those of VCDs. “I think VCDs are slowly being phased out. Malaysia seems to be the only country where people are still watching VCDs. I have stopped selling them.”

The sellers said other popular titles in the market are “Shrek 3”, “Surf’s Up”, “My Wife Is A Gangster 3”, “Eye In The Sky” and “200 Pounds Beauty”. They said “Shrek 3” has now been compiled into a three-in-one package together with the two earlier titles and are selling at ‘half the price’ (RM15). This also applies to Clint Eastwood’s war series, “Flags Of Our Fathers” and “Letters From Iwo Jima” which are combined with the Korean “Brotherhood” (or “Tae Guk Gi”).


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