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Cook Islanders enjoy early Star Wars with pirated video prints

While many countries wait impatiently for the much-hyped Star Wars sequel, the 16,000 residents of the tiny Pacific island nation of the ...

While many countries wait impatiently for the much-hyped Star Wars sequel, the 16,000 residents of the tiny Pacific island nation of the Cook Islands are already watching pirated copies, a report said on Saturday.

A Rarotongan video-store owner has been advertising illegal copies of the video from Asia, much to the anger of the New Zealand Recording Industry Association, the New Zealand Herald said.

Chief executive Terrence O’Neill-Joyce said he was trying to end the “blatant” piracy in the Cook Islands and had approached the film distributors, 20th Century Fox and the American ambassador, hoping they would take action.

“The main operator is very well connected. We can’t get the police in the Cooks to take this matter seriously,” he told the New Zealand Herald.

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Poor-quality bootleg copies of the Star Wars movie “Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, were selling at roadside stalls in Malaysia and Cambodia not long after the film’s May 19 premiere in the United States, theHerald reported.

Meanwhile in Sydney, the movie smashed box office records in Australia on its opening day on Thursday by grossing more than Aus $2.6 million (US$ 1.69 million), figures showed on Saturday. The previous record was Aus $1.7 million for Independence Day.

The industry expects The Phantom Menace, showing on 351 screens, to take more than Aus$ 30 million dollars in Australia. But it will be pushed to beat Titanic, which took Aus$ 57.6 million.

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The next two prequels in the Star Wars series are to be filmed at Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Studies in Sydney.y

First published on: 06-06-1999 at 12:00:00 am
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