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Robin Williams Death Spurs Sales — and Piracy — of His Movies

Comedic actor's films capture 12 of the top 13 of the spots Amazon's list of best-selling DVDs

News of Robin Williamssuicide this week has led to a predictable surge in sales of digital downloads and DVDs of his most-beloved movies — along with a spike in pirates swiping films like “Good Will Hunting,” “Dead Poets Society” and “Good Morning Vietnam” starring the comedic legend.

As of Wednesday morning, 12 of the top 13 best-selling DVDs on Amazon.com were movies or specials starring Williams. Less than a month ago, none of those titles were in the top 100 of the e-retailer’s bestsellers.

The No. 1 DVD on Amazon currently is 1993 favorite “Mrs. Doubtfire,” followed by “Good Will Hunting,” “Dead Poets Society,” “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Patch Adams,” “The Birdcage” and “What Dreams May Come.”

At No. 8 on Amazon’s list is Christian drama “God’s Not Dead,” with the next five DVDs featuring Williams: “Robin Williams – Live on Broadway”; “Jack”; a two-disc release of “Patch Adams” and “What Dreams May Come”; Steven Spielberg’s “Hook”; and “Bicentennial Man.”

SEE ALSO: How Robin Williams Inspired a Generation to Seize the Day

Apple’s iTunes movie rankings as of Wednesday ayem also show a rise in Robin Williams sales, although less pronounced than Amazon’s DVD chart. “Dead Poets Society” is third, after recent releases “Neighbors” and “Divergent,” with “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “Good Morning, Vietnam” coming in at No. 5 and 6, respectively. (Neither Amazon nor Apple reports actual sales figures.)

But despite the legal avenues available for accessing Williams’ movies, piracy activity has also boomed following his death.

As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, “Good Will Hunting,” which co-starred Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, had been illegally downloaded more than 84,000 times worldwide over the previous 24 hours, according to piracy-tracking firm Excipio. That was followed by “Dead Poets Society” at 40,057 downloads, “Good Morning, Vietnam” at 31,981, “Mrs. Doubtfire” at 27,132 and “Patch Adams” at 8,834. Prior to the disclosure of Williams’ death Monday, the number of pirated downloads was negligible and in some cases virtually zero.

Over 47 films, Williams-starring movies grossed $3.17 billion at the U.S. box office, with 20th Century Fox’s 2006 “Night at the Museum” topping the list at $250.8 million, according to IMDb’s Box Office Mojo. Worldwide, those films took in about $5.2 billion at the box office.

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