'Furious 7' a huge hit with illegal downloaders
LOS ANGELES - "Furious 7," the latest installment in the action franchise that broke box-office records this weekend, is also a blazing-hot property among Internet pirates.
Since opening last Thursday, "Furious 7" has been downloaded worldwide 2.59 million times on torrent networks through Monday at 6 p.m. ET, according to piracy-tracking firm Excipio. That's even though the copies of Universal's film currently circulating on pirate sites are illegal in-theater camcorder copies, not higher-quality digital rips.
For the sake of comparison, sex thriller "50 Shades of Grey" had around 300,000 downloads its opening weekend in February, and Disney's "Guardians of the Galaxy" -- one of the top-grossing films of 2014 -- had about 200,000 over its first weekend.
"Furious 7," starring Vin Diesel and featuring fast cars and huge explosions, has clear appeal to a young and largely male demo, which overindexes on piracy activity. Nevertheless, the heavy pirate activity didn't put a damper on the pic's better-than-expected box office take in its opening frame: $146.5 million in the U.S. and $391.6 million worldwide.
The top country for piracy of "Furious 7" since opening has been India, with 578,000 downloads through Monday, according to Excipio's data. Pakistan came in second, with 321,000, followed by China (289,000), the U.S. (251,000) and the U.K. (101,000).
Excipio, which counts Hollywood studios among its clients, measures piracy activity on peer-to-peer torrent networks (not including illegal Web-streaming sites).