A camcorder version of hit movie The Avengers (Avengers: Assemble in the UK) showed up online a week before the official release in the US and was promptly downloaded over half a million times. Despite this mammoth download number however, the movie went on to make $205 million in its opening weekend, breaking the box office record by nearly $50 million. This is the biggest jump in first weekend takings, ever.
This throws a spanner in the works of anti-piracy lobbyists, that often claim the movie, music and game industries are under threat from the illegal download of copyright protected content. However in this instance, despite 500,000 downloads even before the movie was out, it seems to have had no impact on ticket sales.
Opponents of the lobbyists have counter argued for years that downloads don't automatically equal lost sales. For starters, there are many people in that group that would never have watched the movie in the cinema anyway. Then there are those that would watch it again in better quality.
Because of this, all anti-camera technologies are a waste of money and time. Cam copies aren't hurting box office sales.
What could be considered detrimental however are protracted launch schedules across multiple regions. If a movie shows up in the US and takes several months to appear elsewhere in the world - perhaps only after a DVD or screener copy has appeared online - then there is much more of an impact. People that would have paid had it been available, may then turn to pirated copies.
Even in that instance though, the pirated copies aren't losing sales for the studios, their launch schedules are. Piracy isn't something to stomp out, it's something to compete with.
Source: Torrent Freak