Stats from Variety show that even if a movie title is available it is still illegally downloaded. The numbers show an increase in illegal downloads of the top movies of 2015.
My personal favorite movie – Interstellar – tops the list with 46,762,310 illegal downloads. Generally the top 10 sees an increase of around 50% in illegal downloads compared to the 2014 top 10.
With earnings around $ 675 million for Interstellar some would argue that piracy does not harm movies earnings. However, the numbers are a contrast to the general belief that if content is available it will have a positive influence on illegal downloads. This seems not to be the case for the top 10 movies.
If you take the not so popular movies it is my opinion that the illegal downloads will harm those movies more. Take Boyhood for example. The budget for this movie was small – estimated $ 4 mio. At the box office this movie made around $ 25 mio, which is a return 6 times the investment. Looking at illegal downloads in an analysis made by Irdeto, Boyhood was downloaded 365.838 times. This represents lost revenue of approximately $ 7 mio. In short Richard Linklater could have made almost two movies for the lost revenue.
The illegal downloads may not hurt the Blockbusters so much, but they sure hurt the rest.