Illegal downloading of movies and TV shows remains a popular, though again illegal, activity in the modern age of the Internet. Piracy was still a huge problem in 2016 and as you might expect, the most-pirated movies were all major studio titles and franchise installments, similar to how mega popular cable series like HBO's Game of Thrones and Westworld were among 2016's most pirated TV programs.
The biggest hit on pirate sites was also the movie that shook up the superhero genre the most, by injecting a dose of snarky humor into the formula. Not too far behind, however, was another comic books-based blockbuster that prompted much in the way of discussion amongst movie fans in 2016.
According to TorrentFreak, the most-pirated movie of 2016 was the wildly comedic and unusually violent R-rated Deadpool - a 20th Century Fox film release that also managed to gross $738 million at the worldwide box office. Warner Bros. Pictures' Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice came in second on the list, followed by (in their respective order) Captain America: Civil War, Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens and X-Men: Apocalypse.
The top five most pirates movies of 2016 all did significant business at the global box office too, including $544 million for X-Men: Apocalypse and $868 million for Batman V Superman - with Civil War and The Force Awakens making over $1 billion and $2 billion around the world, respectively, despite the high piracy rates. By and large then, these particular tentpoles were able to thrive despite the rampant piracy.
Other movies on TorrentFreak's most pirated film list didn't fare so well at the box office, either in the U.S. and/or worldwide. Seeing as Apocalypse's worldwide take fell well short of its predecessor, X-Men: Days of Future Past, it's possible that the illegal downloads had a larger impact than expected. The no. 6 and no. 7 most-pirated movies of 2016, Warcraft and Independence Day: Resurgence, also under-performed commercially, at least in terms of the domestic box office (though Warcraft did incredibly well in China).
Rounding out the top ten most pirates 2016 films were the second DC Extended Universe installment this year (after Batman V Superman) in Suicide Squad, as well as the Disney/Pixar sequel Finding Dory and the Oscar-winning Leonardo DiCaprio-headlined drama, The Revenant. Both Suicide Squad and Finding Dory were massive hits worldwide, as was The Revenant - with a global take for the latter of over $500 million - despite their high illegal download rates.