Mutants beat pirates

Tight security for 'X2' keeps copies at poor qualilty

SYDNEY — Score one for Hollywood in the battle against Asia’s resourceful video pirates: 20th Century Fox’s unprecedented security for “X2: X-Men United” prevented vids circulating before its theatrical release in the region last week.

Poor quality copies surfaced in Malaysia and Hong Kong the day after the pic bowed in those territories, probably taped in a cinema in Taiwan or Hong Kong.

“We see it as a small victory that no pirated copy hit the market prior to opening and that the only pirated copy so far is a poor camcorder version,” Fox Intl. theatrical prez Scott Neeson told Daily Variety.

While the exec was reluctant to detail the security measures, he said they covered every stage of each print’s journey from labs and dubbing facilities to theaters. Also, Fox tightly monitored previews and press screenings.

“The fact that the print was unavailable until very close to the release also worked to our favor,” Neeson added.

Pirates usually copy theatrical prints, which means the quality of DVDs and video compact discs (VCDs), the dominant format in the region, is very good.

“The amazing fact is there are no locally produced VCD/DVD versions (of the film) in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, or Taiwan,” said Bob Girard, Fox’s Asian supervisor.

In Malaysia, counterfeit DVDs cost $2 and VCDs go for $1.30.

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