It seems that 2009 was a banner year for big box office movies ... being bootlegged.
Last week TorrentFreak published a list of the most pirated movies of the year with JJ Abrams' Star Trek leading the pack. The numbers were pulled from peer-to-peer sharing site BitTorrent and reflect movies that were downloaded (not bootlegs sold). According to the article, Star Trek had 10,960,000 downloads. This is sharp increase in piracy rates considering last year's winner - The Dark Knight totaled only 7,030,000 downloads. Some movies that made it to this year's top 10 were not released this year. RocknRolla (3) and Twilight (5) were both released in the Fall of 2008 and did not make last year's list.
Don't feel too bad for the movie companies, apparently piracy didn't hurt the studios too much. US and Canada box offices grossed more than $10 billion in ticket sales this year despite the millions of downloads that took place. Still, let me iterate that it is illegal to copy and distribute any copyrighted materials. According to The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), movie theft costs the industry $18.2 billion dollars worldwide with $7.1 billion of those losses attributed to online piracy.