EXCLUSIVE: The highest grossing movie during the pandemic, MGM/United Artists Releasing’s No Time to Die was also the most pirated movie for the period of November 15-21.
In addition, the most ripped TV season over the last week was Amazon’s adaptation of the Robert Jordan fantasy novel The Wheel of Time. All of this information comes to Deadline from piracy analytics firm MUSO, which is quickly becoming a go-to source for studios and networks in the whack-a-mole crusade to subdue online content thieves.
Now the list below is ranked by the most torrented movies and TV series, which means, they’re the most shared files between piracy peer-to-peer networks. The actual viewership figure for how many times a movie has been watched on an illegal streaming site is a whole other form of measurement.
Those studio executives who continue to tubthump a theatrical-day-and-date-release strategy should bite their tongues, for the experimental window is the devil’s playground. We’re far from the old days where you could buy shoddy VHS or DVD copies of current theatrical releases, made with a hand-held camera, on 42nd St in New York. Today’s piracy is immediate and nuclear: It’s clean copies becoming available in several different languages all at once, rampant and widespread around the world. The cleaner the copy is at 2k or 4k, the more readily available a movie is, and the higher likelihood the title ranks at the top of the week’s most torrented movies. All of this spells lost money.
Something else to blow your mind: Studio sources have informed us that there’s another means of piracy occurring with stolen passwords from legit streaming accounts. Some of these piracy sites pay consumers for use of their logins and passwords which are then shared.
Covid has also exacerbated piracy. With theaters closed in certain parts of the world, i.e., China at 20%, and certain movies such as Disney fare Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Eternals not available, eager movie fans rely on stealing.
So how is No Time to Die, which just surpassed F9 as the highest-grossing MPA title of the pandemic with $734 million worldwide the most pirated movie? The final Daniel Craig turn as 007 began showing up as the top torrented movie as soon as a clean copy of the film was made available, and that’s when it hit Premium VOD on November 9. Notable is that Sony’s No. 1 weekend theatrical release, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, is not on the chart here because the pic’s exclusive theatrical window is protecting it from being rampantly streamed.
Of the top 10 films being torrented last week, No Time to Die has a chart marketshare of 21.47%. It’s quickly followed by Disney’s Shang-Chi with 20.59%, as that film became available on the studio’s OTT service November 12, on Disney+ Day.
Netflix reported that Red Notice was its most watched movie ever in a given weekend in the history of the studio, and during the period of November 8-14 it was streamed for 148.7 million hours. However, the pic starring Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot ranked No. 3 last week on the top torrented movies. Although still a popular movie to be copied, there’s something to be said about the exclusivity and prestige of a global theatrical release, and the urgent need to download it. Of the top 10 torrented, Red Notice‘s share trails Shang-Chi at 7.4%.
What’s key for window-crunching studios, who are also bewitched by streaming, to solve going forward is when to make a digital copy of a movie available. It’s not 90 days, and it may not even be 15-17 days, but it’s somewhere in between whereby the studio is getting the value of its theatrical marketing budgets in the home market, while preventing free global accessibility to the title.
London-based MUSO is a data company that provides a complete view of global piracy and unlicensed media consumption. The analytics outfit measures global piracy, monitoring all major forms of piracy activity including streaming, web downloads, public and private torrents, and stream rippers. MUSO’s data drives content protection, audience measurement and monetization.