Project X tops list of 2012’s most pirated movies

2 Jan 2013

TorrentFreak has issued a list of the 10 most shared movies on BitTorrent in 2012 and Project X, a found footage comedy about an out-of-control house party, has come out ahead of the year’s biggest box office hits.

The list was compiled using data from numerous trackers to account for the most shared films on BitTorrent, in all formats, from 1 January 2012 to mid-December.

The No 1 most downloaded film is also the one that showed the weakest box office takings among the top 10 and, while the feature film debut of director Nima Nourizadeh saw 8.7m downloads last year, its worldwide box office takings amounted to US$100m.

Big box office successes like Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, The Dark Knight Rises, and Avengers Assemble follow Project X on the list, while three movies from 2011 proved popular with pirates in 2012. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 all make appearances, the latter likely driven by the final instalment of the Twilight franchise being released this year.

Avengers Assemble is 2012’s No 1 box office hit, raking in more than US$1.5bn from cinemas worldwide, while The Dark Knight Rises is at No 2 with more than US$1bn. Skyfall, 2012’s third-most popular film at the box office and another one breaking the billion-dollar mark, is notably absent from the list of 2012’s most pirated films, though. The James Bond feature is apparently only available as a lower-quality download, and this seems to have deterred downloaders.

Overall, TorrentFreak reports that 2012’s figures show no significant change in the total number of movie downloads. And, while the industry continues to rail against illegal downloading, US box office takings reached a record of about US$10.8bn in 2012. Another record set by 2012 is the number of films released in the US, which totalled 655.

Most shared films on BitTorrent in 2012

1. Project X: 8,720,000 downloads (worldwide gross US$100m)
2. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol: 8,500,000 downloads (worldwide gross US$695m)
3. The Dark Knight Rises: 8,230,000 downloads (worldwide gross US$1bn)
4. Avengers Assemble: 8,110,000 downloads (worldwide gross US$1.5bn)
5. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows: 7,850,000 downloads (worldwide gross US$544m)
6. 21 Jump Street: 7,590,000 downloads (worldwide gross US$202m)
7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: 7,420,000 downloads (worldwide gross US$233m)
8. The Dictator: 7,330,000 downloads (worldwide gross US$178m)
9. Ice Age: Continental Drift: 6,960,000 downloads (worldwide gross US$875m)
10. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1: 6,740,000 downloads (worldwide gross US$712m)

In TV piracy, Game of Thrones has been named the most pirated show, seeing 4,280,000 downloads for a single episode. This has been attributed to the limited legal download options afforded by HBO to fans of the show, prompting a comic response from Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal.

TorrentFreak reports that more than 80pc of TV show piracy occurs outside of the US, as viewers elsewhere try to sidestep delayed transmissions.

Most shared TV shows on BitTorrent in 2012 (single episode downloads)

1. Game of Thrones: 4,280,000 downloads
2. Dexter: 3,850,000 downloads
3. The Big Bang Theory: 3,200,000 downloads
4. How I Met Your Mother: 2,960,000 downloads
5. Breaking Bad: 2,580,000 downloads
6. The Walking Dead: 2,550,000 downloads
7. Homeland: 2,400,000 downloads
8. House: 2,340,000 downloads
9. Fringe: 2,280,000 downloads
10. Revolution: 2,130,000 downloads

TorrentFreak also sourced a list of the year’s top search terms on torrent site Zombie TV show The Walking Dead tops the list, but what’s interesting is the fact there are no music-related terms in the top 50 whatsoever.

Online piracy image via Shutterstock

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.