Piracy of Oscar-Nominated Films: ‘American Sniper’ Takes Biggest Hit

American Sniper” will grab the best-picture Oscar on Sunday, if its popularity among pirates is any indication.

The Iraq War drama, starring Bradley Cooper, leads the field of Academy Awards nominees on piracy downloads to date.

Hollywood studios have lost $40 million in potential retail revenue after screeners for six Oscar-nominated films — “American Sniper,” “The Imitation Game,” “Wild,” “Selma,” “Whiplash” and “Still Alice” — leaked earlier on piracy sites, according to technology firm Irdeto.

The most-pirated Oscar nominees from Jan. 15 to Feb. 18, according to piracy-tracking firm Excipio, are “American Sniper” (5.5 million downloads); “Birdman” (3.9 million); “Theory of Everything” (3.4 million); “Gone Girl” (2.5 million); “The Imitation Game” (2.3 million); “Whiplash” (1.6 million); and “Boyhood” (1.3 million).

Some of those titles — including “Gone Girl” and “Boyhood” — have been released on VOD, streaming services, Blu-ray or DVD in the U.S. and elsewhere.

However, according to Irdeto, that didn’t put a damper on piracy activity. The firm saw a spike in illicit downloads in almost every country around the world following the Jan. 15 announcement of the Oscars nominations. After the U.S. — the biggest haven of pirates — the next 10 top countries for piracy are Russia, Italy, the U.K., Brazil, Canada, India, Australia, Spain, South Korea and the Netherlands.

“In the world of Internet redistribution, the window between theatrical release and worldwide market availability may simply be too long,” said Rory O’Connor, Irdeto’s VP of services. “Today’s consumers simply refuse to wait to access these movies through legitimate services.”

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