In effort to curb piracy, Warner Bros. has released Superman Returns in China.

In a story from The Hollywood Reporter, the DVD can be purchased from 1000's of Chinese retail stores but this didn't stop pirates from making their version of the film available as well. Bootleg copies of the movie were selling on the streets of Beijing for 10 yuan or $1.25.

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"That doesn't surprise me," said executive vp and general manager of Warner Home Video, Asia Pacific and Latin America, Mark Horak. "But at least now a consumer there has a choice of buying a legitimate copy, of higher quality and with all the extras, for not much more."

More than 8,000 Chinese retail outlets (many of which previously carried only pirated copies of Hollywood movies) now carry an encrypted copy of Superman Returns, "according to CAV Warner Home Entertainment, the joint venture Warner formed in November 2004 with China Audio Video."

The legitimate DVDs cost about twice as much as the pirated DVDs. For example, "the single-disc Superman Returns costs 14 yuan (about $1.75), while the two-disc special edition is available for 22 yuan ($2.75). Hollywood product typically sells for 20-30 yuan."

"Piracy is a big problem in China, as it is in many markets around the world, and it requires a very specific approach and strategy to fight," Horak stated. He also added "that while Warner has been steadily pushing up DVD release dates in China, the Superman Returns window is twice as long as any previous one."

Warner Bros. took this step "in conjunction with the Chinese Ministry of Culture's anti-piracy initiatives, Horak said. Spurred by reports from the MPA that China's piracy rate, at 95%, is among the highest in the world, Chinese authorities in July began a 100-day crackdown on retail sellers of illegally copied optical discs, stepping up raids on shops and warehouses and inspections at airports, harbors and railroad stations."

Superman Returns will be available in the states on November 28 and sell for "28.98 for the single disc and $34.99 for the two-disc special edition."

Evan Jacobs at Movieweb
Evan Jacobs