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©AP/ Thomas Mann
© AP/ Thomas Mann
'Project X' was most pirated film of 2012
By Philiana Ng, The Hollywood Reporter

The year saw several blockbusters hit the multiplexes, but the most downloaded film of 2012 was one that slipped under the radar: "Project X."

A found-footage comedy directed by Nima Nourizadeh and produced by Todd Phillips, "Project X," topped the likes of "The Dark Knight Rises," "The Avengers" and "Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol" for the title of the most pirated, TorrentFreak reports. According to the website, "Project X" was downloaded 8.72 million times and made the least money among the top 10 movies on the list, earning a global take of $101 million.

Search: The backstory on 'Project X'

How did "Project X" top the box-office heavyweights? One theory is that the film (starring Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper and Jonathan Daniel Brown), reportedly inspired by a rager thrown by a Melbourne teen, might have appealed to Australia natives.

Close behind at No. 2 is Tom Cruise's fourth "Mission Impossible" film, with 8.5 million downloads. "The Dark Knight Rises" (8.23 million); the year's top-grossing film, "The Avengers" (8.11 million); and "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" (7.85 million) round out the top five.

Interestingly, as the report notes, such popular films as "The Hunger Games" and the newest James Bond adventure, "Skyfall," did not crack the top 10.

TorrentFreak noted that it is "unclear" whether illegal downloads of films seriously hurt box-office revenue, noting that researchers found "no evidence" linking piracy to smaller U.S. grosses. However, there is a link between piracy and international revenue.

On the TV side, HBO's "Game of Thrones" epic topped the list of pirated television shows of the year, with nearly 4.3 million illegal downloads.

The top 10 most-downloaded films of 2012:
1. "Project X"
2. "Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol"
3. "The Dark Knight Rises"
4. "The Avengers"
5. "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows"
6. "21 Jump Street"
7. "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
8. "The Dictator"
9. "Ice Age: Continental Drift"
10. "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1"


Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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