Torrentfreak publishes the list of its most downloaded films each year. I wanted to look further into this, in terms of genres and box office revenues.
An important note: being from Torrentfreak, this data is entirely based on viewers who are computer literate, and have reasonably fast internet connections. Obviously this excludes most of India, and most other developing countries where film piracy is based around hard copies of DVDs or VCDs
First, the number of downloads
|Year||No. of downloads||% growth|
Not much growth, I would have expected more. Possible explanations are:
- Success in anti-piracy activities (and greater access to legal online sources) in the developed world are offsetting the growth in developing countries
- A more fragmented market – a wider range of films and TV content is available for download
Next, we look at the top ten films for the last two years. I have listed the number of downloads, the worldwide box office gross, the percentage of that revenue coming from US ticket sales. Finally, I have listed the worldwide box office revenue divided by download numbers
|Year||Film||No of downloads||Worldwide Gross||% of worldwide box office revenue from US||Worldwide Box office $ per download|
|2010||Iron Man 2||8,810,000||$621,751,988||50%||$70.57|
|2010||Clash of the Titans||8,040,000||$493,214,993||33%||$61.35|
|2009||Harry Potter and the HBP||7,930,000||$933,959,197||32%||$117.78|
|2009||State of Play||7,440,000||$87,812,371||42%||$11.80|
|2009||X-Men Origins: Wolverine||7,200,000||$373,062,864||48%||$51.81|
|2010||The Hurt Locker||6,850,000||$48,612,915||34%||$7.10|
The film that really jumps out is RocknRolla. I loved the film, but it had a very limited release (and never released here in India, to my memory). The film was heavily pirated, making less than $2.75 worldwide for each person who downloaded it.
What does this tell us?
- The release was botched, and there was far greater demand than was catered for?
- The film was more popular in countries that are more prone to download (the film also had the lowest % of US revenues on this list)?
- The target audience was so small that they all saw the film, and then downloaded it as well?
I don’t know 🙂
Somewhat predictably, the genres of these films are mostly stacked in favour of the younger guys that are most likely to download films.
|Film||Genre||Worldwide Box office $ per download||Average for genre|
|Avatar||Sci Fi / fantasy||$167.64||$69.56|
|Star Trek||Sci Fi / fantasy||$35.17|
|Transformers: ROTF||Sci Fi / fantasy||$78.90|
|Inception||Sci Fi / fantasy||$84.92|
|Iron Man 2||Sci Fi / fantasy||$70.57|
|Twilight||Sci Fi / fantasy||$45.02|
|District 9||Sci Fi / fantasy||$25.46|
|Clash of the Titans||Sci Fi / fantasy||$61.35|
|Harry Potter and the HBP||Sci Fi / fantasy||$117.78|
|X-Men Origins: Wolverine||Sci Fi / fantasy||$51.81|
|Knowing||Sci Fi / fantasy||$26.49|
|State of Play||thriller||$11.80|
|The Hurt Locker||war||$7.10|
Possibly the film most effected by piracy was Kick-Ass. This film had HUGE buzz coming out of ComicCon and then flopped at the box office. An argument at the time was that the link between ‘geek buzz’ and sales was broken. In reality, the film’s target audience was also the people who are most likely to download films.
Roughly half of these films were in the top 10 box office grossing films of the year as well, on worldwide sales.
So which films did well at the box office, but weren’t pirated as heavily?
|2010||Toy Story 3||Animation|
|2010||Alice in Wonderland||Animation|
|2009||Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs||Animation|
|2009||2012||Sci Fi / fantasy|
|2010||Shrek Forever After||Animation|
|2009||The Twilight Saga: New Moon||Sci Fi / fantasy|
|2010||The Twilight Saga: Eclipse||Sci Fi / fantasy|
|2010||How to Train Your Dragon||Animation|
|2009||Angels & Demons||thriller|
Pretty clear trends there. Animation films are fairly ‘safe’. The first twilight was pirated, but once everyone figured out that the films are for teenage girls, the downloadable factor wore off. Not sure why Angels & Demons and 2012 didn’t work out online. They were both bad films, but that doesn’t necessarily matter 🙂