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pirated moviesLast week we introduced the top 10 most pirated games 10 Most Pirated Games Of All Time 10 Most Pirated Games Of All Time While we would never endorse piracy, it’s fair to say that the best games get downloaded more than others. In fact, games that are well pirated generally mirror their performance in the retail world -... Read More of all time as a good indicator of real success. Can the same logic be applied to movies? Will the biggest grossing movies also be the most downloaded?

Read on to find out, in our list of the top 10 most downloaded and pirated movies, ever. This time, I’ve included box office stats from IMDB as well, to see how they correlate.

1. Avatar (2010)

16.58 Million Downloads/Box Office $2.03 Billion

pirated movies

An industry-changing movie from director James Cameron, Avatar was the first movie to be shot and directed from the start with 3D as the target viewing method, and continues to be a benchmark for all other 3D releases today. The movie explores an epic struggle between the natives of the planet Pandora and the earth military forces as they attempt to mine the incredibly valuable Un-obtainium, with the most breath-taking CG we’ve seen yet.

2. Kick-Ass (2010)

11.4 Million Downloads/Box Office $48 Million

most pirated movies

Originally a comic book, Kick-Ass follows a boy who wants to be a super hero, despite a complete lack of super powers, training, or real reason to become one. He soon finds himself famous thanks to YouTube though, and gains the attention of a ridiculously hard 11 year old girl and her gun-nut crime-fighting father.

Described as “morally reprehensible” by some, “a ridiculously entertaining, perfectly paced, ultra-violent cinematic rush” by others, Kick-Ass received mixed reviews to say the least.

3. Star Trek (2009)

10.96 Million Downloads/Box Office $385 Million

most pirated movies

With a fan base of dedicated Trekkies begging for it, who wouldn’t want to make a Hollywood-quality Star Trek blockbuster? Though previous movies have been hit and miss, this one managed to break it to a mass audience, and we are the better for it. An all-star cast and an intriguing plot about the early days of the USS Enterprise put this movie safely in the top 3.

4. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

10.6 Million Downloads/Box Office $836 Million

most pirated movies

Is it possible to make a heartwarming film about giant transforming vehicle-robots? It seems so. Full of fantastic effects, and a surprising number of comedy moments, Transformers is an instant hit for any child of the 80’s. It also made for a great cinematic experience, which explains the high box office takings.

5. Inception (2010)

9.72 Million Downloads/Box Office $820 Million

most pirated movies of all time

A thrilling action movie that brings the concept of multi-layered, shared lucid dreaming and combines it with guns and bombs. The premise is about forcing an idea into someone’s head, through their dreams – resulting in a mind blowing movie that may take a few viewings to understand fully. Even more mind blowing is that lucid dreaming – the act of waking up consciously while remaining in a dream, is not in fact science fiction at all.

6. Shutter Island (2010)

9.49 Million Downloads/Box Office $127 Million

most pirated movies of all time

With DiCaprio as the lead in both this and Inception, he’s doing pretty well. Another one that’s going to potentially give you a headache as you try to make sense of what you’ve just seen, Shutter Island follows a detective who is sent to investigate a murderer who has escaped a hospital for the criminally insane. I can say no more without spoiling the plot, but suffice to say it’s an absolute winner.

7. RocknRolla (2009)

9.43 Million Downloads/Box Office $5 Million

most pirated movies of all time

Reminiscent of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, a true London action/crime gun-fest full of cockney accents, Americans who we can all hate, and copious amounts of drugs. Absolutely dismal box office performance, but clearly still worth watching if it’s free.

8. The Hangover (2009)

9.18 Million Downloads/Box Office $277 Million

Guy gets engaged, guy goes to Vegas with friends for man-party, guys get drunk, guys lose aforementioned engaged friend… good times and hilarity ensues. It’s pretty textbook stuff, yet something about this movie has made it one of the best comedies of recent years. Reasonable success, the sequel promises to be one of the biggest hits of this year too.

9. Iron Man 2 (2010)

8.8 Million Downloads/Box Office $312 Million

The only real sequel in this list (Star Trek doesn’t count!), Iron Man 2 is another movie that really wants to be experienced in a cinema. Following the continued adventures of a rich CEO who invents an armoured robot suit that effectively makes him a superhero – much to the chagrin of his own company which makes weapons for the world. A new guy emerges on the scene though, resulting in epic robot battles.

10. Twilight  (2009)

8.72 Million Downloads/Box Office $382 Million

pirated movies

Sexy male vampires and werewolves, programmed to have an almost drug-appeal to young girls. The female lead doesn’t quite fit in with her social group, when she discovers her knight in shining armour – in the form of a glittering vampire teenage heart-throb. A joke to many, but clearly appealing to many more, Twilight has become a powerful cultural phenomenon of this century.

So do the download figures correlate with the box office? For the most part, they do, but we can see a few anomalies in there. Firstly, Kick-Ass and RocknRolla seem to stand out as highly downloaded and pirated movies, yet not commercially successful. I suspect this was because they were relatively unknown and of niche appearance, so people weren’t willing to risk a pricey cinema trip on them. Second, Transformers and Inception seem to stand out in box office sales compared to their position in the list. I suspect this is because they are FX-heavy movies which really urge the viewer to get the complete “cinema experience”.

Note: These numbers were compiled from annual summaries. Bear in mind that the figures for 2011 aren’t out yet – so it’ll be interesting to see where the 2011 statistics fit into this – they may even eclipse the entire top 10.

Were you expecting something else in the list? I’m shocked to see not a single Harry Potter in there, but then I’ve personally only ever been to see it at the cinema so perhaps I’m not alone in thinking it needs to be seen big-screen.  What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. peter101
    August 13, 2011 at 10:11 am

    i know it will be impossible to include this status but i must add that the number of torrents are way higher than this if you add the torrents from private trackers

  2. Philharmania
    August 11, 2011 at 3:32 am

    Please, if you only got the figures from BT download, indicate so in the title. Your logic on the previous 'Most-Privated Games' is already pathetically flawed and you are still not aware of the comprehensiveness of the research effort mandated by 'All Time'.

    • James Bruce
      August 11, 2011 at 6:07 am

      No, *you* still haven't realised that torrents have enabled piracy to the masses, and does in fact eclipse all other previous methods of piracy. No dataset can ever be full, that's why we use data that *is* representative of the whole. I suggest you go study statistics before arguing semantics with me.

      • Philharmania
        August 11, 2011 at 9:10 am

        It seems you still haven't realized that torrents or other p2p file
        sharing methods only applies to people with broadband Internet access.
        Do you have any idea as to how much percentage is the BT-enabled people
        among the whole piracy population of 'ALL TIME' and everywhere?
        You are very wrong in your first sentence because piracy has long been readily accessible to the masses before p2p. Have
        you ever heard of CD-ROM and VCD and do you have any figures as to the amount of pirated discs before the proliferation of p2p, all over the world? BT figures can only reflect the data in a limited number of people during a limited period. Unless you can prove the amount of piracy on various kinds of discs is really inferior to BT downloads, you won't be able to use BT figures as the representative.
        And how can you ensure the BT figures are accurate anyway? Has the content of the download been ever checked? What if it's just a porn bearing a title of Avatar?

        • James Bruce
          August 11, 2011 at 3:02 pm

          "do you have any figures as to the amount of pirated discs before the proliferation of p2p, all over the world?"

          Yes, it's like.. 10. Maybe 12. 

          Seriously though, piracy was NOT accessible to the masses before torrents. Ask all the people on your street above the age of 20 what VCD is. I guarantee very few have any clue. The fact is that movie ARE pirated more now than ever before. My only personal experiences tells me that - I dont need numbers that dont exist to prove it. If you wish to prove otherwise, then you get the figures to prove. 

          Though, just so we're on the same level here CHINA doesnt count.  

        • Peter D
          September 10, 2011 at 7:13 am

          You are being over dismissive, in europe and the boot sales and pubs of the uk, vcd are still out there being bought. Pirated dvd's in the holiday resorts of the med, its big business. Your data set is limited but a good indicator.

        • MicroBuntu
          September 17, 2011 at 8:14 am

          "Your data set is limited but a good indicator" which was the point.

    • James Bruce
      August 11, 2011 at 6:08 am

      And I can't put (data obtained by torrent download figure only) in the title, it would be far too long.

  3. Hozefa KB
    August 11, 2011 at 2:16 am

    The Tunnel? or is it too early to tell?