Maybe Hollywood should reconsider its spirited fight against piracy, at least as a consolation prize. When the critics and moviegoers are lukewarm about a film, there is still one possible honor — big on BitTorrent. The file-sharing technology was used more to download pirated copies of the film "Gangster Squad" than any other film last week, according to news site TorrentFreak.
The site publishes a weekly list of the most-pirated movies, and "Gangster Squad" topped the list for the second week in a row. The big-budget flick was generally a failure in its legal release, despite packing three generations of star power, including Nick Nolte, Sean Penn, Josh Bolin, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.
The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) estimates that the film cost $60 million to produce. IMDB also estimates that it has earned $45,996,718 in the U.S. (as of March 31, the last week of data) and $56,500,000. That is profitable, but still disappointing for such a high-profile film.
"Gangster Squad" got off to a bad start. The shoot-em-up flick had been scheduled to debut in September 2012, but was temporarily shelved after the Aurora movie theater massacre, in part because it included a shoot-out scene in a movie theater that was later edited out. [See also: Victim Jessica Redfield Personifies Denver Theater Shooting on Twitter ]
When it finally debuted on January 11 of this year, already with negative buzz from critics (a 38 out of 100 score on aggregate site Metacritic and 32 percent on Rotten Tomatoes). "Some of the clothes and makeup feel as glossy as paint, but, those aside, we seem to browsing through a display of secondhand goods," wrote notoriously harsh New Yorker critic Anthony Lane.
On opening weekend, the press noted that it failed to beat fellow newcomer "Haunted House," which it was suspected to trump. But "Gangster Squad" had its comeback on the interwebs, with "Haunted House" taking the number two spot last week and not even making the top 10 the week before.
Perhaps "good for BitTorrent " is the new version of "save for DVD" to describe a movie that might be fun to watch but isn't worth movie-theater prices.