Warner Bros. Bans Canada Pre-Screenings

An old threat has now resurfaced as a full-fledged story. Warner Bros. Pictures revealed Monday that the studio will cancel all “promotional and word-of-mouth screenings” screenings of its upcoming movies in Canada.

The Canadian ban will begin with the upcoming release of “Ocean’s Thirteen” and continue with the July 13 release of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.” Warners Bros. Pictures Canada will still hold press screenings for credentialed media.

Why is this? Piracy. Unauthorized camcording of its new releases in Canadian cinemas – one of the major suppliers of pirated pics around the globe. According to Warners, more than 70% of all pirated Warners titles released over the past 18 months originated in Canada.

Until the Canadian government makes it illegal to take camcorders into theaters, the ban is expected to remain in force. No word yet if other studios will follow suit.