Trashed film Project X crowned most pirated movie of 2012
Most downloaded movie ... a scene from Project X. Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
A widely panned film reportedly inspired by Australian party boy Corey Worthington was the most pirated film of 2012, according to TorrentFreak.
Project X, based on a quest for popularity by three teenage nerds who throw a party that rapidly escalates out of control, was filmed on a $US12 million budget but generated over $US100 million at the worldwide box office following its release in March (including $4.4m in Australia).
[Corey] was a worldwide phenomenon ... he could have promoted the movie properly for them and it wouldn't have had so many illegal downloadsMax Markson
And despite critics giving it an average score of 28 per cent, according to Rotten Tomatoes, it has been downloaded using BitTorrent over 8.72 million times, according to TorrentFreak.
This puts it ahead of blockbusters including Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (8.5m illegal downloads), The Dark Knight Rises (8.23m), The Avengers (8.11m), Sherlock Holmes (7.85m), 21 Jump Street (7.59m), The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (7.42m), The Dictator (7.33m), Ice Age (6.96m) and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (6.74m) - all of which took in far more at the box office.
The film, from Hangover producer Todd Phillips, is widely reported to have been inspired by Worthington, who as a 16-year-old in 2008 shot to fame after his house party advertised on MySpace went out of control. More than with 500 people turned up and there were clashes with police.
Taken under the wing of celebrity spruiker Max Markson, the Melbourne teen was hired as a party promoter for a time before his star faded.
The Rotten Tomatoes summary of critics' impressions of Project X is: "Unoriginal, unfunny, and all-around unattractive, Project X mines the depths of the teen movie and found-footage genres for 87 minutes of predictably mean-spirited debauchery."
Sun-Herald film reviewer Ed Gibbs wrote: "It's the party you've only dreamed about, the tagline says. And if you were 17 years old again, you might be inclined to agree."
But the film, shot on handheld camcorder, became a cult hit among teens, who, it could be argued, are more inclined to download films illegally.
They threw "Project X parties" around the world, seeking to emulate the scenes in the film, many of which had to be broken up by police.
According to news reports, one such party, in Houston, Texas, was attended by up to 1000 people. Arguments broke out and a teen was killed following gunfire.
Markson told Fairfax Media that while Worthington wasn't well respected in Australia, MTV in the US said at the time that he was "the poster boy for American youth and the biggest thing since sliced bread".
"He was a worldwide phenomenon ... they really should've paid him some money and then he could have promoted the movie properly for them, and it wouldn't have had so many illegal downloads; it would've done more at the box office," he said.
Markson said that a cover Worthington recorded of the Beastie Boys hit, Fight for the Right to Party, topped the iTunes charts during the week or two when he was hot property. Worthington was now engaged and working as a labourer, he said.
"Maybe there's still a chance of a movie career for Corey," he said.
TorrentFreak said its data was collected from several sources, including reports from all major BitTorrent trackers.
Earlier this week, the site released its list of most pirated TV shows, with fantasy drama Game of Thrones coming out on top.
Meanwhile, technology blog Gizmodo used a service called ScanEye to discover that pirated movies and porn were being downloaded using BitTorrent from Australian government internet connections.