As they did with TV, Torrent Freak has released its annual roundup of the 10 most pirated movies of 2013 (full list below), and a couple of films that we discussed on this blog this year, and films that I'm sure you saw, are on the list.
At the top of the list are 2 films that were actually released in 2012: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, at number 1, and at number 2, Django Unchained - although both continued to open around the world through early 2013.
As you'd expect, blockbuster movies like Fast & Furious 6, Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness, all made the cut.
Noticeably absent on the list of 10 is The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which is very interesting considering how big of a worldwide hit the film has been for Lionsgate.
And also Man of Steel isn't on the list.
I thought maybe the difference with those 2 films is that they were both released overseas around the same time that they opened in the USA, so for non-USA audiences interested in seeing them, many around the world had the opportunity to do so at almost exactly the same time that we here in the States did. Piracy tends to happen when audiences have to wait lengthy periods of time especially, for something that they want now.
But, except for Django Unchained, which was first released in the USA in December 2012, and then started gradually opening in other parts of the world a full month later (in some case, that didn't happen for 3 to 5 months after the USA open), the films at the top of the list, The Hobbit, Fast & Furious 6, Iron Man 3, etc, were also all released overseas around the same time they opened in the USA. In a few instances, they premiered in other countries before they debuted in US theaters.
Most surprising to me is Gangster Squad made the cut. I can't even say that I remember much of that film, to be frank.
And also Silver Linings Playbook is a bit of a surprise. Typically, these lists are made up of blockbusters, action/adventure movies that travel well. It's rare to see a drama on the list. Especially a drama that was actually released in late 2012.
Overall, the list of 10 comprises of film with budgets of $100 million or more. Only 3 were made for less.
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 a minimal 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 USA theatrical runs.
Otherwise, audiences will go look for the content elsewhere, and that often means illegal downloads.
The challenge for film distribution companies is to come up with a business model that allows users to consume what they want, when they want, without losing revenue in the process. Emphasis on the word "challenge," because it is one.
So piracy remains fairly popular, despite the rise in on-demand digital, day-and-date, etc releases, that are all in an effort to keep audiences happy.
With the average movie ticket price in the USA this year at around $8, if you multiply that figure by the estimated number of illegal downloads of, for example, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (8.4 million), that's close to $70 million in potential box office the releasing studio doesn't receive. You can do the math with the other films on the list.
Below is a list of the 10 most-downloaded movies of 2013: