2013 was a big year for cinema in general, which means that it was also a big year for online piracy. Many of the year’s films, both good and bad, were downloaded and shared illegally billions of times by individuals across the globe. Numerous advocacy organizations and stakeholders in the film industry, such as the Motion Picture Association of America, have led vigorous campaigns to curb online piracy, but if this year’s numbers are any indication, it seems they still have much more to do to if they want to achieve this goal.
We already which movies were favored by the law-abiding public in a post listing the best-selling home releases of 2013, so let’s examine which movies the piracy community liked the best this year. The top 10 most pirated films of 2013, according to BitTorrent and the filesharing news organization TorrentFreak, were:
1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
2. Django Unchained
3. Fast And Furious 6
4. Iron Man 3
5. Silver Linings Playbook
6. Star Trek Into Darkness
7. Gangster Squad
8. Now You See Me
9. The Hangover Part 3
10. World War Z
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was downloaded nearly 8.5 million times, putting it ahead of Django Unchained and Fast And Furious 6; the former was downloaded an estimated 8.1 million and the latter 7.9 million times. The first part of Bilbo’s adventure was very popular with both the general public and online pirates alike, as the film was the second-best selling home release of 2013.
TorrentFreak makes an interesting observation that was likely noticed by those who paid close attention to the box office this year. While these and many other films were procured illegally by millions of people, this was still the best year in the history of the U.S. box office. Many of the films on this list did incredibly well in theaters, as each one made over $100 million in global sales. For example, even though millions of people across the world downloaded An Unexpected Journey illegally, the film still made over $1 billion globally. This finding casts doubt over the MPAA’s assertion that piracy hurts box office returns. While it is likely that piracy has a more detrimental impact on the home release market, An Unexpected Journey‘s success in terms of Blu-Ray and DVD sales may call this theory into question as well.
A keen eye will also notice that several of the year’s biggest theatrical debuts and home releases did not make the top ten. Even critically-acclaimed films fell short. Evidently, people were more interested in torrenting Gangster Squad than Catching Fire or Skyfall, for example. There’s no accounting for taste, I suppose.
What are your thoughts about online piracy’s impact on the box office and home release market? Let us know down in the comments!