TorrentFreak has released its 2012 list of the most stolen films on the Internet and Todd Phillips's Project X, a very little movie with very big party appeal, somehow took the top spot. Huh?
The rest of the list (pictured at right) makes a lot of sense, with huge, fanboy-friendly blockbusters like The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers showing up in the top five. So how did a flop with a 28 percent on Rotten Tomatoes make its way past the big guys, even if it did come from the producer of the beloved Hangover? Well, technically, because of its $12 million dollar budget, Project X was not a flop. But if you were expecting box office numbers to correlate with illegal downloads, well, let's just say the new Mission: Impossible ($209,397,903 domestic box-office gross) had nothing on this house-party flick ($54,731,865 domestic box-office gross). In fact, Project X is the lowest grossing film on TorrentFreak's list and, as far as critical acclaim goes, the nicest thing anyone had to say was The New York Times's Neil Genzlinger calling it "Animal House for the iPhone generation."
So what made the torrent-happy kids want to download this movie so bad? Project X parties.
What is a Project X party, you might ask. Following the film's release, according to various news reports, teenagers across the world attempted to emulate the movie's plot, which is (very) loosely based on the antics of Corey Delaney, an Australian teen who got 500 people to come to his house party by way of social media. Project X is total fiction, but its handheld camera work makes it feel kind of real. For those who don't get too queasy, see what we mean for yourself:
Teens are a demographic scientifically proven to love pirated content, and who would want to pay for some pointers before throwing their own Project X-style party, right? Nothing may have come close — reports of the real-life parties were probably widely exaggerated, as most trend stories about the kids are these days. But that the term "Project X party" even exists suggests the movie has a sort of cult status among a younger demographic. Hoards of wanna-be hooligans may not have downloaded the movie to plan their own illicit evenings, but they might have at least taken a gander to see if they might think about trying.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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