9:30 PM EST, December 27, 2012
Audiences may not have flocked to theaters to see "Project X," but they're quick to download the movie online -- for free.
The Joel Silver-produced R-rated comedy was the most pirated film in 2012, according to TorrentFreak, which tracks files downloaded across BitTorrent sites.
Around 8.7 million versions of the Warner Bros. film were illegally downloaded, the company said Thursday. That's 220,000 more downloads than "Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol," which came in second.
TorrentFreak tracks all versions of films available on BitTorrent, from digital uploads of homevids to recordings made in theaters using camcorders or other handheld devices.
"The Dark Knight Rises" (8.2 million), "The Avengers" (8.1 million) and "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" (7.9 million) rounded out the top five pics. "Sherlock Holmes" was released in 2011.
While younger males typically do much of the downloading on BitTorrent sites, explaining the kinds of films often pirated, family pic "Ice Age: Continental Drift" also ranked high, coming in ninth on TorrentFreak's list with nearly 7 million downloads, followed by female-skewing "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1" with 6.7 million.
"Skyfall" and "The Hunger Games" were missing from the top 10 given low-quality versions of the films available on BitTorrent sites.
"Project X" was the lowest B.O. earner on the list, with a nearly $101 million global haul. It generated $54.7 million domestically.
In May, TorrentFreak reported that 20% of the people who downloaded a pirated copy of "The Avengers" through BitTorrent days before its Stateside release were in the U.S., or around 100,000. The file, recorded with a camcorder, was downloaded around 500,000 times days after it was posted online, a week before the "Avengers" bow on May 4.
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