Despite distributors’ attempts to curb it, piracy continues unabashed. Here’s our list of the most torrented movies in July.
Back in 2015, Jeff Bewkes (CEO of HBO’s parent company, Time Warner) commented on the positive effect piracy was having on creating awareness of the HBO brand.
Despite this, HBO and anti-piracy partners IP Echelon are distributing emails to those suspected of sharing the Game of Thrones season 7 premiere via torrenting platform Bit Torrent.
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This isn’t the first time HBO has embarked on such a campaign. Last year’s record-breaking torrenting figures caused a similar reaction from the company. Nevertheless, this did little to hinder downloads of the latest Game of Thrones season premiere, which again smashed piracy records.
In a recent interview, Netflix Head of Acquisition, Kerry Merriman, emphasised the importance of using piracy charts to keep track of what is popular with fans. Clearly, then, it’s worth keeping an eye on torrenting charts. Read on for our pick of the most downloaded movies of July.
- Going in Style
In eighth place, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin are thick as thieves in Zach Braff’s crime comedy, Going in Style. Scrubs actor Braff returns for director’s duties in his third feature length film, following Garden State (2004) and Wish I Was Here (2014).
Bringing a superannuated bromance slant to the well-worn heist film format has done little to appease critics, who roundly dismissed the movie as sentimental and “nauseatingly heart-warming.”
This did little to deter viewers from torrenting the film, however, with Going in Style coming in third on TorrentFreak’s weekly torrent chart in late July.
- Boss Baby
The director of Dreamworks’ Madagascar series heads up this animated family comedy. Alec Baldwin stars as the voice of the suitcase-carrying Boss Baby, joined by all-star support from Lisa Kudrow, Steve Buscemi and late-night host Kimmy Kimmel.
Expect diaper and poop-gags, more than a dash of Alec Baldwin’s signature Saturday Night Live President Trump impersonation, and an always excellent Hans Zimmer soundtrack.
A great critical response, coupled with good box office returns, have resulted in a Boss Baby sequel already being scheduled for 2021.
- King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Guy Ritchie leaves behind slick-tongued London gangsters and cold-war spies in favour of bringing the Arthurian legend back to life.
Sadly, neither Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy, Pacific Rim) nor Jude Law rose to the challenge of pulling the sword from the box office stone; the film’s worldwide box office takings fell $35 million short of its production budget.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017) – Everything was failed. that is not that Guy that I remember. 40/100 via. @criticker
— questionso (@aka_djemba) July 27, 2017
Public and critical opinions of the film were largely negative. However, fans’ hopes are high that Ritchie can redeem himself with his forthcoming Disney live action reboot of Aladdin.
- Wonder Woman (2017)
A huge success for DC’s extended cinematic universe, this First World War action epic is only the second feature length film from director Patty Jenkins.
Wonder Woman’s place in the most downloaded movies of July list did nothing to hurt its box office performance. It has broken the record of highest grossing film with a female director, taking the crown from Philippa Lloyd’s Mamma Mia.
Gal Gadot (Fast Five, Knight and Day) and Chris Pine (Star Trek) were praised by critics for their on-screen chemistry. Gadot is fast becoming a (some would say) long overdue female role model in for the comic book adaptation genre.
— Variety (@Variety) July 22, 2017
- Alien: Covenant
Ridley Scott returns with the sequel-to-the-prequel of the franchise that first burst onto our screens in a shower of gore way back in 1979, with a mandate to “scare the s*** out of people.”
Alien: Covenant certainly doesn’t disappoint in this respect. Although Michael Fassbender returns for a dual role, Covenant features far more of the late H R Giger’s iconic Xenomorphs.
Although the film underperformed at box office, this didn’t put people off torrenting it, leading to it being the fourth most downloaded movie on BitTorrent in July.
- Kong: Skull Island
Warner Brothers has drafted in some big names for its second instalment in the MonsterVerse series. Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson and John Goodman join Brie Larson in the latest reboot of the 1933 classic.
Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ first big-budget blockbuster moves the MonsterVerse towards its grand finale, Godzilla vs Kong, scheduled for 2020.
Although critics showed little appreciation, the was plenty of enthusiasm among BitTorrent users and cinema goers, making Kong: Skull Island both the third most downloaded film in July and the ninth highest grossing film of 2017 so far.
- Ghost in the Shell (2017)
If you’re not familiar with the hugely successful Japanese franchise from Rupert Sanders, this latest addition is a good introduction to the manga and anime series, which provided huge inspiration for the Matrix.
Pilou Asbæk, who plays Game of Thrones’ newest love-to-hate character Euron Greyjoy, supports Scarlett Johansson as Major, a machine-enhanced super soldier tasked with hunting down a terrorist hacker across near-future Japan.
Controversy over casting decisions may have hurt box office figures, but Ghost in the Shell still ranks as the second most torrented film of July.
- The Mummy (2017)
Transformers director Alex Kurtzman enlists the help of Annabelle Wallis (Peaky Blinders), Sofia Boutella and Tom Cruise and for the resurrection of the Mummy franchise, which began in 1999 with Brendan Fraser.
With a rumoured $20 million spent on special effects, Universal has tried to kick off its Dark Universe series with a bang. The high production budget, however, preceded disappointing box office results and failed to impress critics.
Fans on BitTorrent certainly seemed impressed, though, with The Mummy leading TorrentFreak’s most downloaded films chart for a full two weeks.
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Protect Yourself: Use a VPN
It’s unclear just how much of an effect BitTorrent and other torrenting sites have on box office returns or the film industry as a whole.
Whether production companies and distributors enjoy increased brand awareness or not, they are unlikely to stop trying to crack down on piracy.
If you’re going to use torrenting sites, protect your identity by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Check out our reviews of the five best VPNs for torrenting, P2P, and file sharing to find your perfect VPN.