Home Alone is the Most Pirated Classic Christmas Movie

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Online piracy traditionally peaks during the holidays. Extra spare time fuels the search for free entertainment including Christmas movies, which experience their annual surge in demand. An analysis of recent piracy statistics shows that Home Alone is the most popular classic among pirates, followed by The Grinch.

home alone movieAs the holiday season approaches, many people choose Christmas movies to get into the festive spirit.

Given that some are considered classics in their own right, it’s no surprise that December viewings have become a beloved tradition for many families.

In most cases, Christmas movies are watched through legal channels. Behind the curtains of some homes, however, holiday entertainment arrives through TCP packets and The Pirate Bay, neatly wrapped in an MP4 container.

With just a few days to go until Christmas, we now reveal which Christmas classics are most popular among BitTorrent users. With help from IKnow, we scoured through millions of downloads to find pirates’ favorite films.

Home Alone On Top

Our data was collected over the past weekend and should be representative of average piracy activity during that time. Looking at the results, it wasn’t hard to spot a winner. The original “Home Alone” (1990) film undisputedly comes out on top.

As seen below, the Top 5 also includes the Home Alone sequel “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” (1992) in second place. The third Home Alone installment didn’t make the cut, however.

Most downloaded Christmas Classics on BitTorrent
rank show
1 Home Alone
2 Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
3 The Grinch
4 Elf
5 How the Grinch Stole Christmas

“The Grinch” (2008) is another popular Christmas classic and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (2000) is not too far behind. The Top 5 is completed by the 2003 comedy, “Elf”.

It’s The Most Downloaded Time Of The Year

Looking at the bigger picture, the overall download numbers are relatively modest. Home Alone was the only title in the top 100 of most downloaded films in our sample, and it was at the bottom of that list.

We can clearly see, however, that the interest in these Christmas classics typically surges in December. When we look at last year’s data we see that Home Alone had a few thousand estimated downloads a day during the summer, shooting all the way up to 37,000 on Christmas day.

The boost at the end of the year is definitely Christmas-related. The chart below compares Home Alone downloads in our sample during a week in August and one in December, showing the non-Christmas-themed classic “Finding Nemo” as a control.

Christmas vs August (2021 sample data)

Christmas effect

What About New Releases?

Pirates are not just interested in older Christmas classics of course. New releases are also doing well.

“Spirited” is by far the most downloaded release and the only one that has more downloads than Home Alone. “Christmas Bloody Christmas” and “The Boss Baby: Christmas Bonus” follow at a respectable distance.

All data reported here are based on a sample of millions of torrent downloads from last weekend. These numbers are not exact nor do they include other forms of piracy, such as online streaming and direct downloads.

Overall, it’s safe to conclude that there are still plenty of people who don’t mind breaking the law to fuel the festive spirit. Hollywood certainly doesn’t like this Scrooge mentality, but most pirates will likely see ‘sharing as caring’.


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