Village Roadshow Addresses The LEGO Batman Movie Delay

Angry Batman Thumb TLBM

After months of silence Bricking Around’s least favourite co-CEO Graham Burke has responded to criticism of The LEGO Batman Movie’s release date.

Speaking to CNET Mr Burke said “When certain films go out in non-holiday periods, our audiences get very cross because the kids are not available to take them to them.”

I am going to assume that Mr Burke means movies targeted to kids. I don’t know what evidence Mr Burke has of audiences getting very cross as he didn’t provide any specific examples. In my research I wasn’t able to find any evidence of Roadshow releasing a kids movie outside of school holiday periods.

I understand that Roadshow Films would have people running the numbers and making decisions based on information that isn’t publically available but from an outsider’s perspective it seems strange that they can definitively say that a February release would be bad, when there doesn’t actually seem to be any kids films released in February – ever. Right now the only kids films on are ones that have been out for quite a while. It’s practically a slot with zero competition. It also doesn’t seem to be a school holiday period in the US (I could be wrong there).

I’d also question the very premise that the film wouldn’t be available for school holidays if it was released now. The LEGO Movie was released in Australia on April 3rd, and according to Box Office Mojo it was still playing on June 8th. That is 67 days. A February 9th release date would, in theory, see the film still in cinemas until mid-April. The relevant school holidays start in early April. The Force Awakens was in cinemas for 97 days for what it’s worth.

It’s possible that The LEGO Batman Movie could be have been released at the same time as the US and still been available during the school holidays.

Mr Burke has also addressed his previous comment that all films would be released the same date as the US. What he actually meant was the same date as the US except when they don’t.

The issue of piracy was addressed; “We’ll still lose a lot of money to piracy at this point in time. But it was a trade off. There will be more money lost by having it released in a non-holiday period as opposed to releasing it when the people want to see it.”

Firstly, people want to see it now. Secondly, based on other statements made it seems Mr Burke is overly confident in the new anti-piracy site blocking laws that are in place. In theory popular piracy sites are blocked, and that will stop pirates in their tracks. Except that the site blocking is absurdly easy to get around. The top result when googling “The Pirate Bay” is literally a site that features a list of alternative mirrors to the blocked site. According to Village Roadshow they are working with Google to literally change the search ranking of sites like that. They also plan to block a further 40 sites this month. Even if you couldn’t Google your way around the block you can very quickly change your DNS to an option that doesn’t block the sites. Google’s DNS servers are open and not subject to the same blocking rules as your ISP. You can learn more about Google DNS here.

TLBM Torrents

After having a quick check it seems that there are also multiple cam copies of the film already available – because access to the torrent sites isn’t blocked in countries where the film is available. So the film is being uploaded and it’s really easy for Australians to download it. What’s the next weapon Village Roadshow has? Lawsuits.

Village Roadshow have said that they are going to start suing individuals who illegally download their content. This was not specifically directed at The LEGO Batman Movie but it will be one of their biggest films of the year. It’s hard to know for sure how those lawsuits would play out. There were attempts to sue people who downloaded The Dallas Buyers Club but after a long and drawn-out process the case fizzled out and nobody had to pay anything. Village Roadshow may handle the cases in a more successful way – it’s too early to know.

With the threat of lawsuits and the fact that online copies are horrible cam versions I am by no means saying that you should go and download The LEGO Batman Movie.

Mr Burke seems to think that he can tackle this problem with blocks and lawsuits because most people are happy to wait – after all he did only get 14 emails about the issue (He seems to have missed the petition I created with over 200 signatures. I didn’t even promote that very well).

Myself and Bricking Around readers may be in the minority in wanting a February release but the parents that I spoke to would gladly have taken their kids on the weekend. Generally when a film is released the ticket sales stay steady for a few weeks and then drop off over time. A February release most likely would have resulted in a different pattern of ticket sales, but it’s a balancing act with piracy on one side and traditional release schedules on the other. I think the weight of piracy has reached a point where it’s time to consider what is on the other side of the scales, considering how much work seems to be involved in fighting the pirates in other ways.

Quotes via and additional information from

4 Responses to Village Roadshow Addresses The LEGO Batman Movie Delay

  1. gazza says:

    Very well said.

  2. hellotreacle says:

    It’s such rubbish. No matter a film is released you will still bet the same number of people seeing it. When has anyone ever said ‘I didn’t see a film because of the date it was released’. The stupid trick I think they miss is that releasing it now would mean anyone wanting to see it will see it. And then if it’s a good film and still running in the school holidays people will see it a 2nd time. I know I took my kids to see The Force Awakens twice and it was nothing to do with school holidays. It’s a ridiculous decision being made based on some sort of made up research.

    My kids are desperate to see The Lego Batman movie and I’m sure that if it’s as good as people say it is we would probably be on our 2nd visit to see it by now.

    I’m tempted to just watch a pirated version just out of principal. But I won’t. But there’s no doubt that actions like this just encourage piracy.

    And the film was made here in Australia too. It’s a bit ridiculous Roadshow.

  3. Matt says:

    At the risk of fanning the flames even more, there is another valid concern which this contentious CEO seems to have missed. The Feb release date came after the kids had only come to the end of their first week back after the summer holidays. Which with the sun still shining strong, holiday spirit pumping through their veins and the school year getting off to a slow start, the audiences would be as strong as any other period. Plus most significantly, for a movie which is considered a 3 quadrant release, maybe even 4 (relates to the types of audiences it will attract for those who haven’t heard the term) it would have had no competition at all with the Feb date. None. Moana, which is awesome by the way, is a month or two old and nothing else of merit has been released since for a wide audience.

    When the movie does finally arrive in Australian cinemas it will come one week after the releases for ‘Power Rangers’ ‘Life’ “Boss Baby’ and the juggernaut which is ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and on the same day as ‘Ghost in the Shell’ and “The Smurfs’. Which means not only does it have to compete for movie dollars against a tough crowd but more disappointingly it has to compete for screen space. It’s likely that anyone wanting to see the movie in a large screen during an evening session will have few options available to them.

    All this pales in significance to the real question though, were the heck is John Wick 2??

  4. rebelpilot says:

    Thanks for the update Michael.

    The whole release has been a fustercluck but maybe we can focus on the positive and that is cinema freebies/promos/polybags :D

    Michael, with your newly acquired sway with Lego Australia as an ambassador could you find out if they’ve got piles of TLBM polybags sitting around waiting to go out to cinema chains as giveaways when you purchase tickets and/or popcorn?

    The possibility of a kiss kiss suit batman polybag is the only thing that will convince me to go and see this at the cinema now.

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