A film about a bunch of stock traders scamming the market was itself the subject of the biggest film heist of the year, as Wolf of Wall Street was named the most pirated film of 2014 by Variety. The film, which made $392 million in the box office, was illegally downloaded 30 million times this year, almost four times as many as last year’s winner, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
Coming in a close second was Frozen, which, like Wolf of Wall Street, was released in 2013. While the majority of the most-pirated films of the year were also huge winners at the box office, the list also included some theatrical-run duds that obviously people wanted to see but weren’t willing to shell out money for. RoboCop and 300: Rise of an Empire, were both in the top 15, although neither were able to convince many theater-goers to shell out actual money for a ticket.
Ironic enough that Wolf of Wall Street, which in a strange way celebrates the life of the corrupt and wicked, were to find itself on the receiving end of 30 million separate acts of theft. Perhaps its demographic was self-selecting, or, more likely, it had just the right amount of drugs, breasts, and bright colors to entice millions of Americans to skip the theater and go straight for the illegal download. Probably, and this is pure speculation, but considering the film appealed to the exact sensibilities of teenage boys (lust, worship of money, Jonah Hill), this was the perfect storm of people with no cash to see the film equipped with the savvy to be able to pirate it.
In the words of DiCaprio’s Jordan Belfort, I believe the line is, “The real question is this: was all this legal? Absolutely fucking not. But we were downloading more movies than we knew what to do with.” And who can argue with a little greed every now and then?