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Oppenheimer Sees New Online Piracy Surge After Oscar Wins

By , in academy awards oppenheimer Oscars Piracy , at March 13, 2024

The Oscars is the most prestigious movie awards show of the year, one that’s closely followed by hundreds of millions of movie fans around the world.

This year’s awards ceremony was no exception. In the U.S. alone, close to 20 million people tuned in to the ABC show on Sunday evening; a four-year record.

In today’s connected world, news spreads quickly across other entertainment channels. As always, most interest goes out to the big winners. This weekend, Oppenheimer emerged as the clear victor with five Oscars, including the most prestigious “Best Picture”.

Poor Things and The Zone of Interest followed at a respectable distance with two wins each, followed by the rest of the field of single winners, including Barbie, The Zone of Interest, and Killers of the Flower Moon.

The Oscar-Effect

In the past we have seen that Oscar wins are not just about prestige, they can also increase sales. This was particularly impactful for titles that are sold separately, as opposed to being part of a streaming bundle.

On the flip side, the Oscars can also impact piracy rates. This is something we can measure directly, as we did when the Oscar nominations were announced in January. We saw interest in many contenders rise but with Oppenheimer, there was little impact.

At the time, we theorized that Oppenheimer was already widely promoted and seen by many millions of people. As a result, the extra attention from the Oscar nomination didn’t move the needle, as it did with ‘smaller’ titles.

When we gathered the new piracy data this Monday and Tuesday, we didn’t expect to see a massive boost in piracy activity for Oppenheimer. The fact that high quality pirated copies of the film have been available since November last year only reinforced that assumption. The data show that assumption was incorrect.

Oppenheimer Piracy Spikes Post-Oscars

Looking through the data we see that Oppenheimer saw a massive 135% increase in downloads on Monday and Tuesday, compared to the same days a week earlier. This made it the second most pirated movie on these days, just behind Damsel which came out on pirate sites a few days ago.

This level of interest in a movie that’s been out for months is a rarity. The Oscar win convinced many people who hadn’t seen it yet to finally give it a go. This effect isn’t just limited to pirate sites as Oppenheimer also moved up Apple’s movie rental charts, and probably elsewhere too.

While Oppenheimer saw the largest piracy increase, other Oscar winners recorded download spikes as well. Poor Things, for example, saw a healthy 39% increase. Killers of the Flower Moon (30%) saw a healthy double-figure increases too and The Zone of Interest downloads surged 116%, as shown below.

Oscar Winners See Piracy Boost

oscar boost


When Barbie and Oppenheimer premiered in theaters last summer, the term “Barbenheimer” became somewhat of an Internet phenomenon. Today, however, the differences between these box office hits couldn’t be bigger.

Although Barbie managed to secure an Oscar in the ‘Best Song’ category, the number of pirate downloads is lower than all other films mentioned here. The piracy volume did spike somewhat compared to last week, but at 28% this boost is rather modest compared to Oppenheimer.

All in all, it’s safe to say that after 95 years, the Academy Awards ceremony is as relevant today as it ever was. While people now have the freedom to watch what they want, whenever they want, their free choice continues to be directed by external forces.

As with all trends today, the piracy boosts don’t last long. They already started to drop off after a day and will likely be back to normal by the end of the week.

Note: The data used in this article comes from Iknow, which tracks torrent downloads through DHT and PEX. While it may not be able to track all downloads, it’s a substantial sample, which acts as a good proxy for the overall interest on all pirate sites and services.

It is worth stressing that this sample only looks at torrent downloads. Views on streaming platforms, direct downloads, and other piracy sources can’t be measured directly. That said, we assume that the trend will be similar there.

From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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