While the summer of 2015 was the second highest-grossing summer box office ever, that certainly didn’t stop movie piracy from proliferating. Digital pirates downloaded more illegal copies of the summer’s best-sellers than last year by nearly 30 percent, according to Variety. The biggest movie to steal this year? Mad Max: Fury Road.
Piracy-tracking firm Excipio calculated that pirated movies were downloaded 85.34 million times between June 21 and September 9, a 29 percent increase over the 66 million copies pirated last summer. But that’s not necessarily a telling trend of an increase in piracy overall. Variety notes that this year’s increase may be simply due to Hollywood releasing more popular summer blockbusters. As we previously reported, the U.S. domestic box office had its second biggest summer ever, up 10 percent from 2014 and grossing a massive $4.48 billion over this summer alone.
That translated into serious piracy numbers, with Mad Max: Fury Road taking the top spot at 22.90 million shares on torrent networks. Unsurprisingly, the summer’s biggest draw, Jurassic World, was the second-most pirated film with 18.6 million shares. World was followed by Avengers: Age of Ultron (15.87 million), Insurgent (14.46 million), and Terminator: Genisys (13.94 million).
Three of summer 2015’s five most-pirated films — Jurassic World ($1.65 billion), Avengers: Age of Ultron ($1.4 billion), and Terminator: Genesys ($435.9 million) — were top ten best sellers globally according to Box Office Mojo. Mad Max: Fury Road ($374.2 million), and Insurgent ($295.2 million) bowed at numbers 14 and 17, respectively. This despite major movie studios’ continuing efforts to combat piracy on all fronts.
Just last month, Paramount, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Columbia, Universal and Disney sued nearly 30 movie streaming and download sites under the MovieTube umbrella copyright infringement. The service has since shut down the site which linked to many pirated films, including Age of Ultron a full week before the film’s U.S. release.
The Motion Picture Association of America will continue to take steps to counter piracy, including giving consumers access to as much legal content as possible.
“One of the best ways to combat piracy is to make more legal content available to consumers online, which the industry is aggressively doing,” said MPAA VP of Strategic Commuications Howard Gantman to Forbes. This effort to make legal content available sooner and easier to access won’t stop movies from leaking, but it may help diminish demand for pirated content.