As they did with TV, Torrent Freak has released its annual roundup of the most pirated movies of 2012 (full list below), and guess what made the top of the list?
No, not Tyler Perry's Madea's Alex Cross; something I've actually never even heard of called Project X, which was released in March, by Warner Bros. I looked it up to learn that it was a comedy film directed by Nima Nourizadeh in his feature film debut, produced by director Todd Phillips (the guy who directed the Hangover movies, and other comedies).
The plot follows 3 friends who plan to gain popularity by throwing a party - a plan which quickly escalates out of their control.
It was the number 1 most pirated movie in 2012, with about 8.7 million torrent downloads worldwide.
So what does that mean for the studio that released it? How much revenue was lost there? 8.7 million illegal downloads adds up to a lot of pocket change, whether in ticket sales, or DVD rentals/sales. Given that the average ticket cost in the USA alone is about $8, if we're talking just USA illegal downloads alone (which we're not, since this is a global statistic), that would add up to almost $72 million.
As was the case with TV piracy numbers, the rise of movie streaming companies like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon's service, and several others, is apparently having an effect on the number of downloads, which suggests that entertainment companies will find it in their best interest to enter distribution partnerships with online streaming sites like the aforementioned, and to make their content available globally, within a reasonable amount of time whether during, or after their theatrical runs.
Otherwise, audiences will go look for the content elsewhere, and that often means illegal downloads.
This also applies to audiences outside the USA who often don't get these dominant, in-demand Hollywood movies days, weeks, and even months after their stateside releases.
The challenge for film distribution companies is to come up with a business model that allows users to consume what they want at any given time, without losing revenue in the process. Emphasis on the word "challenge," because it is one.
Below is a list of the 10 most-downloaded movies of 2012: