A list of the year’s most-pirated movies has been released, and not surprisingly, Avatar has racked up yet another milestone by accruing more than 16,580,000 illegal downloads—handily besting last year’s winner, Star Trek, by more than 5 million. As the BBC points out, James Cameron had trumpeted the 3-D advancements epitomized by Avatar as one of the industry’s surest bets for combating piracy, so he is likely totally throwing a splish-splash tantrum in his gold ducat bath right about now. Like, he must really have egg on his face—Fabergé egg. Get it? The guy’s rich.
Of course, 2010’s runner-up for “movie most frequently stolen by the Internet” will probably be viewed as contributing to the argument that piracy can hurt box-office: More than 11,400,000 copies of Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass were illegally downloaded, making it second on the list ahead of titans like Inception and Iron Man 2, yet the film only recouped a somewhat-disappointing $96.1 million take at theaters. And a similar fate befell the Matt Damon-starring political thriller Green Zone, which actually beat out the blockbuster Sherlock Holmes on the pirates’ wish list, but whose $94.6 million gross didn’t come anywhere close to matching Holmes’ $523 million. Whether these films would have performed better were piracy not an option is, of course, still open to debate, but you can probably expect to see them cited as example in future arguments.
Downloads / Worldwide Box Office
1. Avatar 16,580,000 / $2,779,551,867
2. Kick-Ass 11,400,000 / $96,130,432
3. Inception 9,720,000 / $825,408,570
4. Shutter Island 9,490,000 / $294,803,014
5. Iron Man 2 8,810,000 / $621,751,988
6. Clash of the Titans 8,040,000 / $493,214,993
7. Green Zone 7,730,000 / $94,875,650
8. Sherlock Holmes 7,160,000 / $523,029,864
9. The Hurt Locker 6,850,000 / $48,612,915
10. Salt 6,700,000 / $175,190,850