January 18, 2017

Ashton Kutcher pirates opening of “Killers” at premiere

Hollywoodnews.com: Here’s a fun little exercise. Take a video camera to the movie theaters this weekend, point it at the screen, and televise the first 13 minutes of a movie to Ustream.

Then tell the police officers who are dragging you out of the theater that Ashton Kutcher says it’s OK.

That’s exactly what the Twitter-happy Hollywood star did at last night’s premiere of his action comedy, “Killers.” Kutcher announced via his Twitter feed that he’d be broadcasting the film’s opening as a promotional stunt. And the film already has made headlines for Lionsgate’s decision to hide it from critics (we assume to avoid harsh reviews).

But this is a slippery slope. Now are we allowing certain people to pirate parts of movies, but not others? Shouldn’t there be a blanket policy against ANY type of recording in a movie theater, no matter who you are? And will this method of social-network marketing actually attract audience members?

We won’t know for sure until box office numbers for “Killers” come in on Sunday afternoon. But I think Lionsgate is opening up a dangerous can of worms by using ANY kind of pirating in a semi-positive “look at us” approach to selling a movie. Because the only next step is fully-pirated copies of your movies selling on the streets, and that’s not a healthy business model.

HOLLYWOODNEWS.COM DOES NOT CONDONE, ENCOURAGE, OR APPROVE OF ANY PIRACY ACTIVITY BY ANYONE, ANYWHERE AS WELL AS ANY COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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