The Most Pirated Movie Of The Year Did Not Star Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise's Top Gun: Maverick was less pirated in 2022 than Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Tom Cruise was able to get butts in seats for Top Gun: Maverick but the pirates preferred superheroes in 2022. Despite Top Gun: Maverick being the top-grossing film of 2022 at the domestic box office, it wasn’t even able to break the top five for pirating. Variety pulled data from piracy research firm Muso across various piracy sites and found that Spider-Man: No Way Home topped the piracy charts, followed by The Batman and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
The rest of the list consisted of Thor: Love and Thunder in fourth place followed by Black Adam, Uncharted, Eternals, Top Gun: Maverick, Jurassic World: Dominion, and Encanto. So, Tom Cruise still managed to make it in the top 10 for most-pirated films of 2022, though that still probably isn’t a prize too many studios want to win. Of course, there are reasons that some films have more piracy demand than others.
It’s very possible that Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick landed lower on the list because there was such a large release window between the theatrical release and the VOD/streaming releases. According to Variety, piracy rates for a film spike whenever it hits VOD or streaming services. This is because these sites can get higher-quality rips of the films when they’re available on VOD/streaming, rather than shoddy copies while they’re still in theaters.
The high piracy rates of Spider-Man: No Way Home is likely due to its lack of availability on streaming platforms. Since it’s a co-production between Marvel and Sony, fans can’t even stream the film on Disney+ and have to resort to the Starz streaming platform instead. Instead of paying for another streaming service, it seems that people preferred to pirate the massive MCU blockbuster.
Tom Cruise may have a massive international audience, but there’s no way he could ever compete with the global recognition of a superhero like Spider-Man. The higher piracy numbers are likely due to the simple fact most international audiences would prefer to see a Spider-Man film than a sequel to a Tom Cruise film from the 1980s (especially since the film is about the US military).
Out of all the films in this top-10 list, Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick and Spider-Man: No Way Home had the longest theatrical-exclusive runs. Both films made massive amounts of money at the box office though, so the piracy probably isn’t hurting them too badly. Top Gun: Maverick pulled in $1.488 billion at the global box office and Spider-Man: No Way Home pulled in $1.921 billion, making it one of the highest-grossing movies of all time.
Tom Cruise and most of the other entries on the list made plenty of money at the box office, with Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam being the only entry that could be considered a box office disappointment. The high piracy numbers for the exiled DC property could be partially blamed on the fact the film never got a theatrical release in China. Those who wanted to see the movie in that massive market may have found it easier to pirate than stream.
If you want to check out Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick through the official channels, you can now stream it on Paramount+. The film was also nominated for several Academy Awards. We’ll have to wait and see if it can take home the trophy for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, or Best Visual Effects.