The Most Pirated Film of 2010 Is...

Avatar ($2.8 billion)
Courtesy of Twentieth Century-Fox

In the months and weeks leading up to Avatar’s release, many said there was no way Fox would come out ahead on the 3D tentpole. But never underestimate James Cameron. The film went onto gross a massive $2.02 billion at the international box office, and $760.5 million in North America. The movie, which revolutionized 3D filmmaking and remains the gold standard, supplanted Cameron’s Titanic as the biggest film of all time

The Oscar winner was downloaded an amazing 16,580,000 times, according to TorrentFreak.

Drumroll please....Avatar is the most pirated film of the year. 

The Oscar-winning mega-blockbuster was downloaded from torrent websites an amazing 16,580,000 times, according to TorrentFreak. That represents a 33% increase in download activity from last year's top-pirated film, Star Trek, which was downloaded just under 11 million times.

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20th Century Fox, which distributed the sci-fi epic, isn't exactly crying. The film grossed nearly $2.8 billion at the worldwide box office to become the highest-grossing movie ever. Director James Cameron has frequently touted 3D filmmaking as the industry's best hope for combating piracy, but 3D glasses didn't hold back pirates from shattering all recorded piracy records. The financial performance of Avatar's home entertainment revenue isn't known yet, but the initial DVD release broke sales records.

Surprisingly, second on the list is Kick-Ass, distributed in the US by Lionsgate. That film recorded 11,400,000 downloads off of torrent websites and grossed a somewhat disappointing $48 million domestically (plus another $48 million overseas).

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Coming in at #3 is Inception with 9,720,000 downloads. The Warner Bros. film has been the top pirated film these past couple months and was the most-pirated film last week, ahead of its DVD launch. 

The Hurt Locker, which won best picture at the Academy Awards, came in as the ninth most-pirated film with nearly $7 million downloads. That's interesting because Hurt producers are currently in the middle of a lawsuit against thousands of those pirates. It was the lowest-grossing film on the list, with just under $50 million at the worldwide box office.

Here's the full list of the 10 most pirated films and number of downloads as recorded by TorrentFreak:

  1. Avatar / 16,580,000
  2. Kick-Ass / 11,400,000
  3. Inception / 9,720,000
  4. Shutter Island / 9,490,000
  5. Iron Man 2 / 8,810,000
  6. Clash of the Titans / 8,040,000
  7. Green Zone / 7,730,000
  8. Sherlock Holmes / 7,160,000
  9. The Hurt Locker / 6,850,000
  10. Salt / 6,700,000