Since the dawn of the internet, movies of all types and genres have been shared from person to person, usually illegally. This is usually carried out through torrenting websites and clients like Bittorrent and Limewire. Over the past couple of decades, big record and movie production firms have taken significant legal action through the use of legal firms who specialise in intellectual property law. Results have varied from case to case.
From the 3D version of Avatar to the wildly successful Kick-Ass, films that have seen the highs and lows box office earnings have been pirated thousands of times. Below we’re going to go through 4 of the most pirated movies of all time.
4. Inception – 18 Million Total Downloads
Christopher Nolan’s Inception, the movie about a dream within a dream within a dream ad infinitum, drew a large audience in from all over the world. Sporting a cast of stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Ellen Page, this psychological thriller was primed to do well in reviews as well as financially.
Lo and behold, the movie was a resounding success, scoring 8.8/10 and 86% on IMDB and Rotten tomatoes respectively. The movie also made upwards of an impressive $826 million from a relatively small budget of about $160 million. Naturally, the movie was downloaded millions of times during and after its big breakthrough, estimates lie around 18 million downloads in total.
3. Transformers (2007) – 19 Million Total Downloads
Michael Bay’s explosion-filled rendition of the classic Transformers franchise was a huge success at the box office. With a budget of $147 million, Transformers made a cool $709.7 million which is certainly nothing to complain about. With cast choices including Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox, you could bet money on this film being illegally downloaded more than a few times.
And that’s exactly what happened; the 2007 Transformers film was shared all across the web to the sound of around 19 million downloads.
2. Batman: The Dark Knight – 19 Million Total Downloads
The second most modern Batman film, after Batman Begins and before The Dark Knight Rises, was The Dark Knight which was received with critical acclaim. Well-known movie critic Roger Ebert gave the film 4/4, IMDB gave it 9/10, and Rotten Tomatoes awarded the film a 94% fresh rating. Safe to say, The Dark Knight was always going to be a victim of movie piracy.
The film ended up being illegally downloaded about 19 million times, according to estimates. Unfortunately, this is one type of crime Batman can’t help with…
1. James Cameron’s Avatar – 21 Million Total Downloads
Avatar was a smash hit in cinemas when it first released back in December of 2009. With a budget of approximately $237 million, the film made a staggering $2.788 billion according to box office statistics. As far as most metrics go, Avatar performed extremely well.
However, with great success comes often negative or unwanted attention. It is estimated that Avatar was downloaded illegally around 21 million times which is sure to have put a dent in their already ultra-high earnings.
While there are many arguments for and against movie piracy, it is always interesting to look at the figures as to how much money these movies brought in and how much higher they may have been had movie piracy never became a thing.