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Thu May 31, 2018, 12:19 PM

How 1960s Film Pirates Sold Movies Before the FBI Came Knocking

“When a movie breaks back then [in the 1960s], they put it in like a hundred theaters,” Wise explained. “And, of course, that’s film. That’s 100 films. After two or three weeks, they only need like 20 and [the movie studios] pay tax on every print that’s in the room... so they have to junk 80 prints—they have to throw them away. So you can kind of guess the story there, when I find out they’re throwing these things away....”

Wise said that when he found out they were just tossing film prints in the trash, he started to offer the low-level employees in the shipping department at the movie studios a few bucks to take them. At first, it was just a single movie from time to time.

“Well, that grew,” Wise said in an understated way. The guys in the film exchanges in Washington, D.C., his friends, were more than happy to make $25 here or there for something that the studio was just going to throw in the landfill.

Wise sold movies for up to $575, which would be over $4,000 in today's money. But then the FBI found him.

From http://www.neatorama.com/
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Reply How 1960s Film Pirates Sold Movies Before the FBI Came Knocking (Original post)
FSogol May 2018 OP
TimeSnowDemos May 2018 #1
hunter Jun 2018 #2

Response to FSogol (Original post)

Thu May 31, 2018, 01:18 PM

1. I know


A few people involved in the bootleg industry back in the day. They'd buy up film prints of rare Asian movies that had US interest, transfer them to a master and then print them to VHS and DVD.

Those were then sold to consumers through places like Tower Records and Best Buy.

The people involved even went as far as partnering with a HUGE media company before the whole business died thanks to the internet.

I know they make hundreds of grand though, stealing movies, in about 5 years. And never got caught.

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Response to FSogol (Original post)

Sun Jun 3, 2018, 03:57 PM

2. Transferring 35mm prints to more accessible "home theater" 16mm format was hard core.

Feature length 16mm prints were not cheap, neither was the equipment required to make a good quality transfer.

Today about three minutes of the least expensive 16mm film (expired stock or never-the-same-color-twice stock) costs about $40. Then it costs another $40 to develop it. That would be $2400 for a 90 minute feature film, and only if you could find someone willing to touch copyrighted material.

It wasn't any less expensive then, and you usually had to "know a guy" who'd make a run after hours, etc...

A guy like Roddy McDowall had the money and connections, and maybe studio hounchos who'd appease him with "illegal" 16mm copies for his collection.

Exporting to South Africa was probably an inside job too, at a level far above the mail room clerks. There were plenty of racist assholes in Hollywood who disagreed with the export ban and probably took money under the table to send films that way.

Today's pirates have it easy.

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