Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Warner Bros. Pictures’ release of the animated adventure film Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie, opening today in theaters nationwide, has sparked a frenzy among fans eager to obtain four new Yu-Gi-Oh! trading cards that were created exclusively for the film.

Moviegoers receive one of four exclusive Yu-Gi-Oh! cards free with the purchase of admission to Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie, but two enterprising fans stole a quantity of 2,400 cards from the Cinemark Movies 8 in Chino, California after perpetrating an elaborate ruse. A man impersonating a Warner Bros. employee, along with a partner posing as his assistant, convinced theater management that the wrong type of cards had been shipped to the facility, and made off with the entire quantity after promising to send replacements.

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Meanwhile, audience demand for the exclusive cards has been so great that theater managers around the country have besieged Warner Bros. Pictures with calls requesting additional quantities, and sales of the cards are doing a brisk business on eBay.

“We were aware of the immensely popular Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card phenomenon, but we never expected people would go to such great lengths to illegally obtain quantities of these exclusive cards,” said Kelly O’Connor, Senior Vice President, Exhibitor and Marketing Services, Warner Bros. Pictures. “We are taking greater security precautions as we make as many of these cards available to fans as possible.”

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie follows the adventures of mild mannered high school student Yugi Muto, who becomes a seemingly invincible hero when he plays his favorite card game. (Translated, “Yu-Gi-Oh!” means “King of Games.”) The card game pits players against each other in “battles” fought using playing cards emblazoned with wildly imaginative creatures. Each card features different monsters, spells and traps with varying strengths and weaknesses. Duelists strategize to use the most powerful combination of cards from their “decks” to defeat their opponents and become master duelists.

The record-breaking Yu-Gi-Oh! television series debuted on Kids WB! in 2001 and currently airs in over 60 countries and 20 languages, consistently ranking #1 on U.S. network television. The popularity of the Yu-Gi-Oh! TV series sparked a worldwide phenomenon among fans who yearned to play a real life version of the card game. This excitement led to the creation of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Duelist League, which counts over 600,000 participants, with card play taking place at over 4,500 retail locations.

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie is released by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. This film has been rated “PG” by the MPAA for “scary combat and monster images.”