Pirates and the Wealthy Watching Theatrical Releases at Home

“Furious 7,” the latest installment in the “Fast and Furious” franchise, broke box office records last weekend, and that’s not even counting the people who watched the movie at home. From Thursday to Monday, the film had been illegally downloaded 2.59 million times on torrent networks. Meanwhile, fans could legally stream the movie on PRIMA, a streaming set-top box. For the luxury of streaming movies opening weekend, PRIMA users would have to shell out $500 for the 24-hour rental.

videostreamThat price tag makes pirating the movie a lot more attractive for people without disposable income. “Furious 7” was an extremely popular torrent, particularly in India, Pakistan, China and the U.S, according to piracy-tracking firm Excipio.

Variety reports that more than 2.5 million downloads during opening weekend dwarfs the 300,000 “Fifty Shades of Grey” opening weekend downloads. The nature of the action film appeals to men, one of the largest demographics involved in pirating.

Wealthy people could watch “Furious 7” legally last weekend by using PRIMA Cinema. The large streaming box requires a little more setup than a Chromecast. PRIMA uses “biometric authentication” (fingerprint scanner) to deter shady people from using the device, according to The Verge. The movies are transferred over the Internet and encrypted to prevent theft.

Being able to watch movies from home on opening weekend is a concern to movie theater chains. They make money by being the first and only business to have movies before the content makes its way to DVD, video-on-demand services, and later subscription streaming services. “Furious 7” made $391.6 million worldwide at the box office, but perhaps a “Furious 10” in the future might rake in millions from people sitting at home on their couches.

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