December 31, 2013 5:53am PT by Eriq Gardner
'The Hobbit' Tops List of 2013's Most Pirated Movies
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey gets the mixed distinction of being the year's most pirated film, according to TorrentFreak.
The first installment of the trilogy is estimated to have been shared 8.4 million times on torrent sites in 2013. That's more than Django Unchained, coming in as the second most pirated film with 8.1 million downloads, as well as Fast and Furious 6, with 7.9 million downloads.
The numbers are slightly down from a year ago, when four films topped the 8 million download mark, led by Project X.
Released last December, The Hobbit made more than $1 billion at the global box office. It was also one of the most expensive films ever made at an estimated cost of about $315 million.
Peter Jackson, the film's director, wasn't immediately available to comment on the news. Neither was Warner Bros., the film's distributor.
In recent years, Jackson has been quiet about the topic of piracy. In 2005, though, upon the release of King Kong, he warned of a dire future.
"Piracy has the very real potential of tipping movies into becoming an unprofitable industry, especially big-event films. If that happens, they will stop being made," he told The New York Times. "No studio is going to finance a film if the point is reached where their possible profit margin goes straight into criminals' pockets."
The trend since then has actually been studios financing big-budget films -- ones that might lure consumers away from small screens. If anything, it's the mid-budget films that have struggled to find financing and distribution. The softness of the home entertainment market hasn't helped.
Among the other films that were the most pirated in 2013 are Iron Man 3 (7.6 million downloads), Silver Linings Playbook (7.5 million), Star Trek Into Darkness (7.4 million), Gangster Squad (7.2 million), Now You See Me (7 million), The Hangover Part 3 (6.9 million) and World War Z (6.7 million).
TorrentFreak says it compiled the data from several sources, including download statistics reported by public torrent trackers.