As expected, this weekend's world premiere of the The Da Vinci Code was quickly followed by the release of pirated copies of the summer's first true blockbuster. Reuters reports from the somewhat less glamorous black market debut event in Shanghai:
Pirated DVD versions of both "The Da Vinci Code" and "Mission Impossible 3" were selling for 5 yuan ($0.60) each, but the workmanship was poor, as is usually the case for early pirated copies often made with hand-held camcorders in the cinema. One customer said he could seeing people walking in front of the cinema screen.
"I could even hear someone drinking Coke or something," he said, adding that he lost patience half-way through and vowed to pay up and see the movie at the cinema.
While a jubilant Sony dispatches accountants from its worldwide distribution arm to Shanghai to ascertain how many 60-cent copies were sold and add the total to its international grosses, the MPAA will launch a manhunt in the city, hoping to find the disgruntled consumer from the story and create a series of PSAs around their new hero, which will tell the story about how his experience with shoddy, pirated product inspired him to abandon his evil ways and seek redemption at the multiplex.