Top Pirated Movies of 2009 & Other Top 10’s

Published 5 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:27 pm,

Pirated Movies Top Pirated Movies of 2009 & Other Top 10s

Remember the big debacle with the Wolverine piracy stunt?  It stirred quite the debate across the net between classic respectful consumers vs the modern-day internet consumer with the oddest of excuses for what is known as stealing.  But then the movie still made its money.  They all make their money no matter what pranks people pull.

Me, in case you didn’t know…  I actually pay for the products I use.  It’s the old fashion thing to do!

But what of pirated movies?  Was there a more popular movie to steal than Wolverine? There certainly was and we have the list of the top 10 most pirates movies of the year along with top 10 lists for total domestic box office earnings and top DVD sales.

The most pirated movie out there was J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, edging out Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen with almost 11 million illegal downloads. The 3rd most downloaded film was Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla.

With RocknRolla, people wonder if the mere $26 million it made could have been more if WB actually marketed it properly or if people had actually gone to see it instead of steal it. But alas, you know how we here at Screen Rant feel about the matter.

The article on THR esq. makes a great debate about how the process of a movie release potentially contributes to the process instead of just releasing everything at the same time to the theater, DVD etc.

So what were the top 10 illegally downloaded movies?

Movie Est. Downloads (Mil) Worldwide Box Office ($Mil)
Star Trek 10.96 385.5
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen 10.60 835.0
RocknRolla 9.43 25.7
The Hangover 9.18 459.4
Twilight 8.72 385.0
District 9 8.28 204.6
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 7.93 929.4
State of Play 7.44 87.8
X-Men Origins: Wolverine 7.20 373.0
Knowing 6.93 183.3

For those who have made a habit out of stealing, they’ll pitch their argument that the movie still made money.

It’s an interesting top-10 list, that’s for sure.  And if these movies were the most illegally downloaded, does this portend to a brand new kind of top-10 list we have to start reporting on?

So this got me to thinking.  How do the illegal downloads add up with legitimate sales numbers?  Is there a trend in theft that can be applied to legitimate numbers?

Let’s take a look and see what we see:

TOP DVD SALES Sales Revenue for 2009 ($ millions)
1 Twilight 175.3
2 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen 187.2
3 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa 107.0
4 Up 101.4
5 Bolt 80.9
6 Monsters vs. Aliens 73.8
7 Star Trek 60.6
8 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs 70.3
9 X-Men Origins: Wolverine 68.8
10 The Proposal 66.5

chart source: The Numbers


TOP U.S. BOX OFFICE B.O. for 2009 ($ in mil)
1 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen $402
2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince $302
3 Up $293
4 The Hangover $277
5 Star Trek $258
6 The Twilight Saga: New Moon $231
7 Monsters vs. Aliens $198
8 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs $197
9 X-Men Origins: Wolverine $180
10 Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian $177

chart source: The Numbers

Closing Thoughts

Star Trek was the top grossing illegal download, but Star Trek was 7th and 5th in the DVD and Box Office Charts.  Hmm.  I’m starting to think that some of you who say you’re previewing a film illegally to know you’ll buy it, aren’t following through on that line.  Yet it looks like Transformers then contends in the other direction.  Then The Hangover looks to go in either direction.  The Hangover was 4th on the illegal download chart, but non-existent in the top-10 of DVD purchases while it was 4th in 2009 of Box Office performers.

That is, if these charts could be compared to each other.  Initial review makes me wonder, but scientifically, there’s so much more that can go into this little comparison that we could go on and on for a while.

Source:  THR esq

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  1. @AKnot
    You say that Haggi is breaking both piracy laws and his country laws? Before, I start if you do not live in USA than i understand you saying that. Yet, if you do. It is a felony to pirate movies. I am not saying he or you are right. I am not sayin that at one point i have not done it too. To be honest i do not care, but for you to say that like you are not is ridiculous. I mean no harm just stating facts. It is a crime against the state to illegally download movies. As i said no harm meant if I am wrong about the felony thing than prove me wrong. It is still ,if not a felony, illegal with piracy laws and government laws to download

    • you’re spelling and grammar sucks big fat black mans’ weiner

  2. @Lakost:
    I have to say I didn’t download it then, I got it from a friend of mine on good old VHS ^^
    I just wanted to point out that I actualy would have downloaded it back then and to point out a reason I would understand more then inspecting =)
    But yea you are right it is illegal in both ways and pointing out which is more illegal is kinda unneccesary (i had to look up “felony” in a dictonary, lol)

  3. @Lak,

    “See all I’m saying is that I don’t think you are downloading for the right reason. =)”

    However his right reason would break piracy laws and his countries laws (which bans that particular movie). Which is not really a good/right reason. That is all I was saying.

    Never once have I said what I do is not against a/the law.

  4. hehe one can demonstrate in many ways xD

  5. Um, I missed “Moon” in theaters (it was only playing about an hour’s drive from my home), but despite the fact I *really* want to see it, I’m just waiting for it to come out on DVD so I can rent it.

    What’s the problem? Impatience? “I want it noooooooooooooow!”



  6. “I’m starting to think that some of you who say you’re previewing a film illegally to know you’ll buy it, aren’t following through on that line.”
    Thanks for that faulty line of logic. They are previewing the film to see if they WANT to buy it. If they don’t buy it, it means they DIDN”T WANT to.

  7. The fact that Star Trek is *in* the Top 10 DVD sales as well as the Top 10 illegal downloads just goes to show that people *are* buying it even when they preview. If every one that downloaded just flat out refused to buy I’m quite sure it wouldn’t be in the Top 10 DVD sales at all.

  8. The Hangover is a bad example for DVD sales as its barely been out a month so without shifting a record amounts of units in this time it wouldnt feature.
    I am a cinema lover and dont really understand why people would want to see films such as Star Trek, Transformers or Harry Potter on anywhere but the big screen but the thing I will say is i have downloaded films in the past UNTIL become available for purchase. This Christmas alone I had no more than 6 dvds including the Hangover, Star Trek, Drag me to Hell ( and best of all Night of the Creeps woo hoo!!)
    The box office has just had a record year as far as ticket sales go and then publish these results. Cant they see the fact that people are more interested in movies more than ever thanks to the internet, and sites such as this. The problem that Hollywood has is every single week a new “must see blockbuster” comes out and the only way to keep us is by skipping repeated viewings of films you love, and thats where the piracy comes in. I think that they need to either drop prices of cinema and rely more on advertising, or perhaps sell the dvds to people as they leave the cinema.

  9. So in Germany you can’t own, Evil Dead, but Ang Lee’s Hulk is ok?

    Who wants these films banned and why?

    Note to self:
    Cancel moving to Germany!

  10. Okay…Here it is. You own your own life, set your own restrictions and/ or freedoms, and deal with the concequences. That being said…If downloading is such a massive voodoo, why don’t the feds procecute the torrent sites that make these “pirated” downloads available? It seems to me that in this “big brother is watching you” society that it would be the most efficient way to stop all the blather about “right” and “wrong” and send a message, no?

    Just food for thought…

  11. More people should buy RocknRolla!!! We need to see the sequal and that movie was amazing. One of the best films of the year. So stop downloading and start renting or buying!!! Oh and it’s fine to watch at home if you have a home theatre system, I like movies at home sometimes better than at the movies because the sound is often better.

  12. I’d like to ask a quetion: What’s the difference between downloading a movie and borrowing from the library? Either way you watch it for free, but yet no one disagrees with the latter.

  13. @790:

    I think the Tree-Rape was to heavy for the guys responsible here.

    But as I said, It is nowhere as hard as it used to be.

  14. Censorship sucks but I didn’t realise there was Tree Rape in Evil Dead. How did that slip past the MPAA? Its been so long since I’ve seen that one.
    Yeah Haggislaw, I’ve recently asked myself why did we even bother to defeat Nazi Germany?
    Ironically the roles are reversed but the same thing is happening again, and I’m in the US.

  15. as an avid movie goer that also downloads movies, i prefer to see the movie in the theater just for the experience of seeing on the big screen. a caveat to that is i usually go when there is no one else there so it’s like having the theatre to myself and i think it’s worth admission. on the downloading side yes i download movies usually movies that don’t make it into local theaters or that i’m sketchy on paying 8-10 bucks to see. for instance Avatar paid, Sherlock Holmes paid, Ninja Assassin paid, Star Trek paid, Adventureland paid, Wolverine paid… District 13 Ultimatum download, The Goods Live Hard Sell Hard download, Year One download, Bruno download, Gamer download. too many more movies to list as far either DL or paid to see it. In my case if Hollywood would consistently make good movies I’d pay to see all of them I know that’s not really a good excuse but that’s just my take.

  16. This is a debate that will go on forever, there are people who are so dead set against Dl anything and enjoy the moral highground, and there are those of us who spend a fortune on going to the cinema and buying DVDs who dont really see anything wrong with downloading the occassional movie.

    And yes it often stems from impatience, but if it is a choice between not seeing something I really want to see and waiting six moths to a year to buy it on DVD, then of course I will DL it. I have thousands of DVDs, probably spent £10,000 easily. So yeah I dont mind having a freebie considering the ridiculuos price of cinema tickets these days.
    It costs the same to watch a crappy movie as it does to have a two course meal!

  17. i think its more of the gift trend

    and i think kids rule dvd sales lol, i never would of guessed

    look at your proof

    all of the films are 1 (animated)
    2 (from comic book or cartoon origin and are giving as gifts to children, as well as us adults who grew up watching the shows)
    3 (twilight proposal are female driven)
    4 (star trek probably has the fewest in target audience from the above, other than the proposal, which it did beat.

    not saying ilegal downloads didnt play a roles, but S T should be happy at 7

  18. Fyi to those that haven’t seen Moon, it will be released on dvd/BR Jan 12.

    Vic you should consider writing up a Dvd review. The film is going to impress a lot of Screen Ranters, I think I’m the only one here that’s seen it.
    Everyone make sure when you watch Moon, to listen closely to the last few lines of dialog, they wrap up the character arc in disturbing fashion…

  19. Nevermind,,, 😉

  20. People will always buy the “great” must have movies and illegally down load the average movies. I believe illegal downloading can be curved a little by doing stuff like – including the digital copy along with the DVD and lowering the prices and making people feel they are getting the most bang for their buck.

  21. I read an intresting article once about how the digital revolution and the internet just simply made selling DVDs and Music and all that stuff just so much dependant on extras and package. And they are right in my mind. There are a lot of people who want to pay and get their stuff the legal way. See Legal Music Download Portals for instance. Since they rised the numbers of illegal downloaded music went down. I believe that the traditional way of selling copie in stores depends on the package now. Make it as Complete and exclusive as it can be and it will work out better then selling 3 different versions of one movie.
    The one thing that prevets me from buying movies instead of renting is that I truly hate it to not own the most complete version of a movie.
    For instance I couldn’t wait for Dark Knight to come out here and I bought the Blu-Ray instantly just to see the 2 Disk Special Edition a week later in stores. I could freak out everytime that happens to me.
    Another example: I bought the Die Hard Box Set belieing Part4 would be final and then rumors spread about a Fifth. GNARGHSS!!!!! As much as I would love a 5th I will hate having a Box Set and a Single Disc next to it ^^
    Or how about Watchmens Cinematic version, Directors Cut and Ultimate Cut…. WTF! Same with the incoming LotR BluRay Set that won’t be the extendet Version. MAKE IT ONE SET WITH ALL VRSIONS INCLUDED!!!!!

    Actualy I don’t know if complete Sets would make a difference. But if a studio would always bring out the most Complete Editions first, I am sure as I can be, I would preorder every single Disc as soon as it get available!

  22. anyone remember that chappelles show scene where hes walking through the internet (its like a giant mall lol) he looks over and sees legal music store and like its all calm and theres three people moseying about. glances over and sees the free download store and theres like 100 people grabing whatever they can and running out alarms blazing. haha

  23. I’ve seen the phrase “moral highground” used here and in other places. It seems like such an interesting perspective, to call certain perspectives as “highground.”

    So do I presume that abiding via the legally acceptable method is some sort of attitude-ridden highground?

    Or am I just not reading this right? (I’m open to any interpretation really. I’m loving the discussion going on here!)