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Ex-marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington, left) is sent to establish a human settlement on the planet Pandora, where he falls in love with humanoid Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) in James Cameron's Avatar. ((20th Century Fox))

James Cameron's sci-fi blockbuster Avatar was the most pirated film of 2010, according to data from TorrentFreak.

The file-sharing blog reports that Avatar was downloaded 16.6 million times.

Most downloaded films

  1. Avatar: 16,580,000
  2. Kick-Ass: 11,400,000
  3. Inception: 9,720,000
  4. Shutter Island: 9,490,000
  5. Iron Man 2: 8,810,000
  6. Clash of the Titans: 8,040,000
  7. Green Zone: 7,730,000
  8. Sherlock Holmes: 7,160,000
  9. The Hurt Locker: 6,850,000
  10. Salt: 6,700,000

Source: TorrentFreak

The 3D film, which Canadian-born Cameron devoted 10 years to making, was also a box office record-setter, bringing in $2.8 billion US worldwide, the highest amount for a feature film.

Cameron had hoped that 3D filmmaking would help combat piracy and encourage more people to see the film in theatres, but Avatar was downloaded 33 per cent more than last year's most pirated film, J.J. Abrams's Star Trek.

The second most downloaded film of 2010 was superhero film Kick-Ass, which did not do as well as expected at the box office, followed by Leonardo di Caprio's Inception.

TorrentFreak reports that two of the year's best box office performers, Toy Story 3 and Alice in Wonderland, were not among the most downloaded films.

TorrentFreak said the figures were collected from several sources, including reports from thousands of BitTorrent trackers.