Christopher Nolan’s science-fiction epic Interstellar was the top downloaded film via bit torrent of 2015, states the tracking firm Excipio, who monitored torrent activity from the beginning of the year through Christmas Day. According to their study, Interstellar was downloaded via torrents over 46.7 million times. Furious 7 was the most downloaded film released in 2015, with nearly 44.8 million downloads.
It should be noted that these download numbers in part skew towards films that have been out longer. Furious 7 had since April to accrue its 44 million downloads, a three month head start on a film like Minions which only saw some 23 million downloads.
Variety is reporting these numbers as “sure to shock,” noting that last year’s biggest downloaded film, The Wolf Of Wall Street, saw only 30 million downloads.
Traditionally, studies like these are used to support film industry claims that downloaded films cause a significant impact on box office receipts. However, some of the most downloaded films of the year – Furious 7, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Jurassic World – are also among the biggest grossing films of the past twelve months.
So, when looking at these statistics, it is important to remember to not make the false assumptions that the studios would like you to make, i.e., that every download equals a lost ticket sale. If anything, it is easy to assume that not every person who downloads a film had the intention of seeing it in a theater if they had a chance. As this list is global, it may be that some downloaders are in areas where the film was not released. A single torrent user may have downloaded multiple file versions of the same film looking for the best quality version. Such activity would certainly invalidate claims that each download equals one ticket sale lost. One could have bought a ticket and seen a film in the theater but downloaded the film as it was not available yet on home video to rewatch. A torrents user could have downloaded a film to sample it, and found it to their liking, leading to them going out to the theater to see it on the big screen.
Are any of these valid excuses to download a film? That is up to each person to decide for themselves. However, the fact that there are a number of motives for downloading a film that lay outside the realm of ticket purchase avoidance does puncture the claims of the studios.
Below is the list of the top fourteen downloaded films as determined by Excipio.
#1) 46,762,310 Interstellar (2014)
#2) 44,794,877 Furious 7 (2015)
#3) 41,594,159 Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
#4) 36,881,763 Jurassic World (2015)
#5) 36,443,244 Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
#6) 33,953,737 American Sniper (2014)
#7) 32,126,827 Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)
#8) 31,574,872 The Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armys (2014)
#9) 31,001,480 Terminator: Genisys (2015)
#10) 30,922,987 The Secret Service (2014)
#11) 26,792,863 Focus (2015)
#12) 25,883,469 San Andreas (2015)
#13) 23,495,140 The Minions (2015)
#14) 22,734,070 Inside Out (2015)