According to the LA Times blog “The Big Picture,” it’s due to differences in respect for copyrights:
As Moore noted, one of the countries that has the least amount of piracy is Japan. “There is a very low social acceptability in Japan for stealing copyrighted work — you just don’t see movies showing up online right away there,” he said. So with that in mind, Paramount is holding back the release of “Iron Man 2″ in Japan for several weeks, having little fear about the country being swamped with bootleg copies of the film.
However, when it comes to Korea, it’s a different story. “For better or worse, there are certain countries — notably like Korea — where it’s culturally acceptable to download movies online pretty much right away,” said Moore. “By the third week of a movie’s release, you’re starting to see a large part of the audience who will start consuming the film online. It’s why Korea has almost no home video business anymore.”
So Paramount knew it couldn’t afford to wait. It released “Iron Man 2″ in Korea this weekend — and is hoping for the best. “There are still some countries that don’t respect the rights of intellectual property,” said Moore. “So we’re working aggressively with them to address those issues. But it means that when we open a big new film, we have to really understand the country’s cultural attitudes when it comes to formulating our release dates.”
(HT to reader)