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Star Wars and the piracy problem

More than an estimated 4.7 million Americans plan to watch The Last Jedi illegally.

The latest in the Star Wars saga, The Last Jedi hits the big screen on Friday, December 15, 2017. It’s the eighth installment in a long line of much-loved movies and part of a franchise spanning back to 1977. To dig deeper into the newest Star Wars movie, we polled 1,437 Americans to learn exactly how they plan to watch it.

The dark side of the Force

To get an eye on The Last Jedi, an estimated more than 4.7 million of us (4.2%) plan to turn to the dark side — in other words, watch it illegally. Strangely enough, most plan to do so by gaining an illicit copy of the movie from a friend (3.2%), while the rest will either illegally download it, stream it or buy a pirated DVD (1.8%). Help us Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re our only hope!

Looking at demographics, men are more likely to watch it through illegal means than women — 4.8% compared with 3.7% of women. As for generations, both millennials and Gen Xers are equally as likely to watch it illegally (5.3%), followed by baby boomers (2.4%) who plan to do so.


Who else will be getting their Star Wars fix?

Pirates aside, more than 1 in 3 (38.6%) Americans plan to watch The Last Jedi — an estimated 95 million in total. Most of us who plan to watch it — an estimated 73.8 million, or 77.8% — are Chew-sing to watch it at the movies.

A further 18.0% plan to stream it legally when it becomes available, whether they’ve watched it already or not, followed by 13.9% who plan to purchase the DVD as soon as it’s released online and in stores.

More men than women plan to watch The Last Jedi, but not by too much — 43.3% compared with 35.2%, respectively. Millennials are the most likely to watch it at 44.3%. Gen Xers closely follow at 44.0%, with baby boomers lagging behind at 30.4%.

Baby boomers are the most likely to watch it through legal means — 98.4% of those boomers watching it will do it legally. This is followed by 97.0% of millennials and 95.2% of Gen Xers.

There’s even a small proportion of people planning to watch it both legally and illegally, coming in at just over half a million of us — or a total of 683,621 Americans.

How can you watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi?

The movie premiered in the States on December 9th, but The Last Jedi won’t be released to your local theaters until Friday the 15th. Netflix hasn’t announced for sure whether it’ll be available for streaming, but Disney’s deal with Netflix gives Netflix exclusive streaming rights to every Disney movie that runs in theaters. We can expect to see it on Netflix in a few months, then.

This deal applies only to Disney movies released after striking the deal in spring 2016, which means you’ll be able to catch up on Rogue One on Netflix but not The Force Awakens or any of the others. Although Disney plans to pull its movies off Netflix, we expect that won’t happen for a while.

For now, we can geek out on the newest Star Wars trailer:

You might be interested in…

  • Learn about the best VPNs on the market
  • Stream TV and movies using a Roku
  • Sign up for HBO GO
  • Watch your favorites on Netflix
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For all media inquiries, please contact:

Richard Laycock, Insights editor and senior content marketing manager


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