Published April 28, 2010
| NewsCorp Australian Papers
The most successful movie of all time looks set to add yet another record to its bulging CV -- most pirated.
Having smashed Titanic at the box office, James Cameron's sci-fi epic Avatar is now well on its way to being the most pirated Blu-ray movie ever.
And Australian pirates are leading the charge, according to TorrentFreak. Avatar was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the U.S. on April 22, but has yet to hit store shelves in Australia. That's not stopping fans of the franchise, however.
Just a day before its DVD release in Australia, impatient Avatar fans are downloading about 50,000 Blu-ray versions of the movie on a daily basis.
While it's not a remarkable number compared to regular DVD downloads, it's enough to push Avatar into the week's Top 10 Most Pirated Movies on BitTorrent, which may also be a first for a Blu-ray rip.
TorrentFreak claims a "relatively high" number of those illegal downloads are coming from Australia and the UK, and points to the lack of availability as an obvious "major force" driving the piracy.
Despite the drain of its 10GB download, the popularity of the pirate version in Australia would be a thorn in the side of Twentieth Century Fox, which has conducted its largest ever publicity blitz in the lead-up to the highly-anticipated Australian release.
The Daily Telegraph reports Fox has struck a deal with Channel 9 which has incorporated Avatar into its station IDs along with testimonials from the network's stable of personalities.
Fox also recently outfitted the Bulldogs league team in a one-off jersey that incorporated the blue face markings of Australian actor Sam Worthington's character from the film.
The version to be released in Australia will be 2D and does not include any extra features.
A director's edition with deleted scenes and behind-the-scene featurettes along will be released later this year.
The 3D high definition Blu-ray version has not been confirmed but is expected to be released in time for Christmas following the launch of 3D TVs from all the major manufacturers including Samsung, Panasonic and Sony.