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Writer/director James Cameron’s Avatar has added yet another milestone to its belt this year.  After becoming the highest grossing flick ever (close to a whopping $2.8 billion take worldwide) as well as becoming the best selling Blu-ray in the short history of the technology, Avatar has been named 2010’s most popular film torrent.  With 16,580,000 downloads, the film effortlessly topples last year’s ‘winner’ Star Trek with its measly 11 million illegal downloads.

Unlike its other records, however, I doubt the Fox marketing team will be clamoring to throw this one onto all the special edition DVD and Blu-ray covers coming our way in the future. Interestingly enough, one of Cameron’s principal selling points for 3D was that it would prove to be a surefire method for eliminating piracy…oops. Hit the jump for more details and the full list.

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The 2010 runner-up was director Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass which garnered 11,400,000 downloads.  Unlike Avatar, that film performed considerably below box office expectations in light of fervent hype from Comic-Con and film blogs such as our very own.  Given its second-place finish, there was clearly an attraction to the material, so who fumbled the ball – Lionsgate marketing or indolent fans? Kick-Ass carried an R-rating and its target audience is undoubtedly more tech-savvy when it comes to tracking down torrents, but the tonally confused TV spots couldn’t have done it any favors with the mass public either.  The box office blame game is a popular one in Hollywood and inconsistent piracy patterns such as this can only serve to inflame it.  With the gold and silver medals resting on two films at polar ends of the profit spectrum, it seems the debate on whether internet piracy deals a critical blow to a movie’s box office draw will have to remain at a stalemate for the time being.

Here’s the list of the top 10 most-downloaded movie torrents this past year [via Torrent Freak]:

1. Avatar 16,580,000…$2,779,551,867

2. Kick-Ass 11,400,000…$96,130,432

3. Inception 9,720,000…$825,408,570

4. Shutter Island 9,490,000…$294,803,014

5. Iron Man 2 8,810,000…$621,751,988

6. Clash of the Titans 8,040,000…$493,214,993

7. Green Zone 7,730,000…$94,875,650

8. Sherlock Holmes 7,160,000…,$523,029,864

9. The Hurt Locker 6,850,000…$48,612,915

10. Salt 6,700,000…$175,190,850

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