Pirates showed a passion for “Fifty Shades of Grey,” with copies of the erotic thriller downloaded almost 300,000 times worldwide within three days of the film’s U.S. theatrical debut.
That’s despite the pirated versions being low-quality recordings apparently made with a handheld camera in theaters. As of 6 p.m. ET Sunday, “Fifty Shades of Grey” had been downloaded via torrent sites by 298,037 unique Internet addresses, according to piracy-tracking firm Excipio. The top market was the U.S., with 44,896 downloaders, followed by the U.K. (33,839), India (19,298) and the Philippines (16,952), the company said.
What is currently the most popular “Fifty Shades” torrent hit the Internet on Feb. 14 at around 11 a.m. ET, according to Excipio.
For the sake of comparison, Disney’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” — one of the highest-grossing films of 2014 — saw 198,873 unique Internet addresses downloading copies of the pic over the first weekend of its theatrical debut last August, per Excipio. Those downloads were similarly of low-quality “camrips,” given that a DVD-quality copy did not appear online on piracy sites until October, according to the firm.
“Fifty Shades,” from Universal Pictures and Focus Features, sucked in a record-breaking $94.4 million over the four-day Presidents’ Day holiday weekend domestically. Overseas, where the movie debuted in 58 territories where Valentine’s Day is celebrated, “Fifty Shades of Grey” earned nearly $160 million at the foreign box office through Sunday.
The movie, adapted from E.L. James’ bestseller, stars Jamie Dornan as a billionaire with kinky bedroom proclivities and Dakota Johnson as a college student who falls under his spell.