Illegal downloads of '50 Shades of Grey' soar
The downloads could be driven by some countries' ban on the movie, cut from cinemas due to its erotic scenes
Illegal downloads of steamy Hollywood blockbuster "50 Shades of Grey" are on the rise, with the movie being watched online 453,109 times as of early this week.
According to data from piracy-watching firm Excipio GmbH, the movie is being illegally downloaded twice as much as last year’s "Guardians of the Galaxy" was during the movie's opening weekend.
The downloads could be driven by some countries' ban on the movie, cut from cinemas due to its erotic scenes.
The movie tells the story of a sexual relationship between a wealthy businessman and a college student and includes scenes that depict whipping and bondage.
Three countries that often object to sexual content – Malaysia, Indonesia and Kenya – have banned “Fifty Shades” from theaters.
In Malaysia, the head of the film censorship board called it “more pornography than a movie,” according to Hollywood trade publication Variety. The distributor in Indonesia said the film did not meet the country’s censorship standards.
Kenyan authorities gave no reason for their ban but have a history of censoring sexually explicit content. They prohibited the 2013 blockbuster “The Wolf of Wall Street,” a film that contains graphic depictions of sex and drugs.
Despite the controversy, the flick pulled in $93 million in its opening weekend in the U.S. - more than 40 percent of the top dozen movies’ sales - according to box office tracker Exhibitor Relations.
Add to that earnings of $173 million outside the U.S., the film has had international sales of over a quarter of a billion dollars - $266 million to be exact.