John Malcolm, the Motion Picture Assn.'s worldwide anti-piracy director, toured the Mexico City black market of Tepito on Oct. 3, where he bought a copy of recent Lions Gate release "Lord of War" for

MEXICO CITY (The Hollywood Reporter) -- John Malcolm, the Motion Picture Assn.'s worldwide anti-piracy director, toured the Mexico City black market of Tepito on Oct. 3, where he bought a copy of recent Lions Gate release "Lord of War" for just 50 cents.

Malcolm, on his first official visit to Mexico as head of the MPA's anti-piracy operations, called the Mexico City's black market of Tepito "one of the most extreme" he had ever seen. "It was a rather overwhelming experience because it is so dense," he told reporters at a Mexico City press conference Oct. 4.

Malcolm dressed down for the occasion and was accompanied by escorts who led him through a sea of some 800 stalls.

Piracy is taking its toll on both foreign and local producers, Malcolm said. The MPA, the international counterpart of the Motion Picture Assn. of America, estimates that some 10 million pirated films come out of the crime-ridden Tepito market each year.

During his tour of Tepito, he also purchased "Don de Dios," a Mexican picture that is yet to be released in theaters here. Curiously enough, the movie is about the Tepito neighborhood.

On Oct. 3, he met with high-ranking Mexican officials and authorities to discuss Mexico's growing piracy problem. He said the federal government has made progress in combating piracy, but emphasized that stronger coordination must be made with state and municipal authorities.

According to the MPAA, losses to the film industry in Mexico due to the sale of optical disks are about $140 million per year. All told, Mexico churns out about 40 million illicit copies annually.

"Mexico's piracy rate is reaching 90%, which is simply unacceptable," Malcolm said.

Earlier this year, MPAA chief Dan Glickman met with President Vicente Fox to discuss anti-piracy measures. During his stay, Glickman purchased a pirated copy of "The Pacifier," a film produced by his son, Jonathan Glickman.