'Fast Five' tops most pirated movies of 2011 on BitTorrent
"Fast Five," "The Hangover Part II" and "Thor" were the year's most pirated movies, topping a list that contained some surprising differences from the most popular movies at the box office.
The fifth, and most successful, installment in Universal Pictures' high-octane "Fast and Furious" action series, starring Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, was downloaded 9.3 million times worldwide in 2011 through the file-sharing technology BitTorrent. The data was compiled by the BitTorrent-focused website TorrentFreak.
The top 10 list for the year included several movies that did little business at the box office but were particularly popular among tech-savvy young males, including the Jake Gyllenhaal science-fiction film "Source Code" and the Zach Snyder-directed "Sucker Punch." A surprising No. 7 was the James Franco drama "127 Hours," which came out in late 2010 but gained more attention early this year due to its multiple Oscar nominations.
The year's most popular movie at the box office, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2," barely sneaked onto the most pirated movie list at No. 10, having been illegally downloaded 6 million times. The No. 2 and No. 3 box office films, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" and "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1," didn't make the top 10 list of pirated titles.
Some good news for the Hollywood studios that have been waging a furious war on piracy -- through technological means and by lobbying for anti-piracy legislation in Washington, D.C. -- the average number of downloads among films in the top 10 fell. Last year's most pirated movie, "Avatar," for instance, was downloaded 16.6 million times, 78% more than "Fast Five."
The downturn could be explained by the growing prevalence of legal ways to watch movies online, such as Netflix streaming, or by alternatives to BitTorrent for online piracy, such as sites that allow users to illegally stream video without downloading files. Or it could simply be due to the lower popularity of this year's releases, as evidenced by the 4% decline in box office receipts so far this year.
Here are the 10 most pirated movies of 2011, along with the number of times each was downloaded, according to TorrentFreak:
2. "The Hangover Part II" (Warner Bros. / Legendary): 8.8 million
3. "Thor" (Marvel/Paramount): 8.3 million
4. "Source Code" (Summit / Vendome): 7.9 million
5. "I Am Number Four" (DreamWorks / Disney): 7.7 million
6. "Sucker Punch" (Warner Bros. / Legendary): 7.2 million
7. "127 Hours" (Fox Searchlight): 6.9 million
8. "Rango" (Paramount): 6.5 million
9. "The King's Speech" (Weinstein Co.): 6.3 million
10. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" (Warner Bros.): 6 million
-- Ben Fritz
Photo: Elsa Pataky, left, and Vin Diesel in "Fast Five." Credit: Universal Pictures