Spidey in China Soon, But Not Yet

Tuesday a rumor went out on the wire that copies of Sony’s blockbuster Spider-Man 3 had already been found on DVD in China. Sony immediately denied any leak had occurred, but did report that Spider-Man 2 DVDs were being sold in fake Spider-Man 3 cases, a classic inventory recycling scam. “This incident underscores one of the problems with piracy — people who buy illegal movies often get ripped off themselves,” Sony noted.

As Sony assured, and I confirmed, no copies of Spider-Man 3 are easily available on the web yet.

The movie, which cost Sony Pictures a rumored $500 million to produce, was premiered in Tokyo on April 16. It won’t be released until May 4 in the U.S., and, ironically enough, May 1 in China.

While it’s certainly possible that in three days a videotaped version from China could beat the U.S. release, the rumors seem to indict East Asia generally, even though China is dutifully staging copyright propaganda events. What’s rather troublesome to me was how it was initially reported by Reuters:

But put the one bought on Tuesday in the machine, and it does not work — a common problem with Chinese-made DVDs, which are often made with poor equipment in dingy backrooms.

Um, aren’t like the majority of all DVDs produced in China? Are there massive DVD manufacturing and packaging plants here in the good old US and A that I don’t know about? Funny how the Chinese-made DVDs I buy at the Asia Star in San Francisco’s Chinatown all work quite well with my $25, Chinese-manufactured, region-free DVD player that also supports SVCD, AVI and MPEG playback, thank you very much.