2010′s Most Pirated Movies; AVATAR Takes Top Prize

by     Posted 3 years, 249 days ago


Writer/director James Cameron’s Avatar has added yet another milestone to its belt this year.  After becoming the highest grossing flick ever (close to a whopping $2.8 billion take worldwide) as well as becoming the best selling Blu-ray in the short history of the technology, Avatar has been named 2010’s most popular film torrent.  With 16,580,000 downloads, the film effortlessly topples last year’s ‘winner’ Star Trek with its measly 11 million illegal downloads.

Unlike its other records, however, I doubt the Fox marketing team will be clamoring to throw this one onto all the special edition DVD and Blu-ray covers coming our way in the future. Interestingly enough, one of Cameron’s principal selling points for 3D was that it would prove to be a surefire method for eliminating piracy…oops. Hit the jump for more details and the full list.

Kick-Ass DVDThe 2010 runner-up was director Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass which garnered 11,400,000 downloads.  Unlike Avatar, that film performed considerably below box office expectations in light of fervent hype from Comic-Con and film blogs such as our very own.  Given its second-place finish, there was clearly an attraction to the material, so who fumbled the ball – Lionsgate marketing or indolent fans?

Kick-Ass carried an R-rating and its target audience is undoubtedly more tech-savvy when it comes to tracking down torrents, but the tonally confused TV spots couldn’t have done it any favors with the mass public either.  The box office blame game is a popular one in Hollywood and inconsistent piracy patterns such as this can only serve to inflame it.  With the gold and silver medals resting on two films at polar ends of the profit spectrum, it seems the debate on whether internet piracy deals a critical blow to a movie’s box office draw will have to remain at a stalemate for the time being.

Here’s the list of the top 10 most-downloaded movie torrents this past year [via Torrent Freak]:

# Downloads Gross (Worldwide Box Office)

1. Avatar 16,580,000…$2,779,551,867

2. Kick-Ass 11,400,000…$96,130,432

3. Inception 9,720,000…$825,408,570

4. Shutter Island 9,490,000…$294,803,014

5. Iron Man 2 8,810,000…$621,751,988

6. Clash of the Titans 8,040,000…$493,214,993

7. Green Zone 7,730,000…$94,875,650

8. Sherlock Holmes 7,160,000…,$523,029,864

9. The Hurt Locker 6,850,000…$48,612,915

10. Salt 6,700,000…$175,190,850


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  • gimpsuit

    “Interestingly enough, one of Cameron’s principal selling points for 3D was that it would prove to be a surefire method for eliminating piracy…oops.”
    You’re an idiot.
    How many 3D compies of Avatar were pirated?
    Answer: None.
    All those illegal downloads were in 2D.
    Seems like Camerons plan worked perfectly. Hence the box office.

    • Kevin Panasiewicz

      Hey gimpsuit. While I’d be willing to bet there’s at least ONE blurry copy of a 3D Avatar showing someone was daft enough to record, the point was that unless a film intended for 3D is released worldwide in that format alone, there will always be bootleg copies. I don’t see that happening, which is why I called out the oversight. We might be closer to the same page than you might think, as you basically highlighted the irony I was trying to poke fun at: it would appear that 3D and movie piracy are independent of one another. And Cameron’s plan did work perfectly in that he knows how to craft event movies that cater to the masses. If Cameron had released Avatar in 2D, I highly doubt it would have been a B.O. bomb, do you? Yogi Bear just released in 3D to so-so figures, and I’ll put my money on it not ending up in the top 10 most-pirated list.

      • gimpsuit

        Not sure I’m totally following you there.
        But the 3D version wasn’t pirated at all. The 2D version was mauled.
        Yes, unless it’s realeased in 3D ONLY there will be pirated copies.
        But the theatrical release served it’s puropse.

  • Edd Teach

    But how many of those downloaders then went out and bought the DVD after seeing it on torrent? The figures for Piracy are a mess, Piracy benefits many films, especially ones that would otherwise fly under the radar, that then after seeing on torrent may get bought or rewatched on the big screen.

    Maybe more people would go cinema if ticket prices didnt rise to ridiculous levels during a recession. Or if Hollywood didn’t release rushed crappy quick buck making movies, that are obviously crap or marketing schemes to sell toys etc.

    End of the day, Hollywood is Hollywood’s worst enemy. In second place are the critics that tell people whats not worth watching. 3rd place, maybe pirates, but only the ones that see a film and then not like it. Would you buy a blu-ray of a movie you dont like? Would you risk seeing it in theatres if most critics or RT gave it a terrible score? Didn’t think so. But with a torrent, one can judge it, and even if critics panned it, it may still make money.

    Studios need to stop blowing money on shitty films, stop fighting piracy and get with the programme. Just let it be, Piracy is the only way you will get most to even see your films. Move with the times Hollywood! Piracy is a tool that accept it or not benefits both sides.

    • gimpsuit

      “Piracy is the only way you will get most to even see your films”
      So why should they even bother to make films at all? They know they are going to get pirated, unless the fickle, everchanging desires of the audience happen to click with a particular movie at a particular time, they know people are going to download it. What’s their motivation for making better movies? Why work extra hard when people are just going to steal a chunk of your paycheck anyway?
      “But with a torrent, one can judge it, and even if critics panned it, it may still make money”
      How can a film still make money if no one saw it in cinemas and everyone downloaded it for free? What does the studio get from that?
      But I agree with you on the fact hollywood is it’s own worse enemy. Make better films. Encourage people to go to the movies. Produce better scripts. Pay writers better and don’t treat them like lepers. Make overpaid actors take a 2% pay cut and give it to the writers (which for them would translate into a 50% pay rise!)
      And critics, don’t get me started on those douches.

  • Edd Teach

    Also further to my comment above, If people buy and sell dvd/blurays on ebay secondhand, does that not factor into this? Is THAT illegal too?

    Another thing that will stop people seeing some films is oversaturation, ie showing all the good bits in trailers, and so much that it often paints a better picture than the final film.

    Oh hollywood, you have all that money power and technology at your disposal, but deep down, your just not very smart.

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