Paramount Embraces BitTorrent for Movie Release

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BitTorrent is regarded as a dirty word in Hollywood, because the peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol is often used for distributing pirated movies.

But for the world premiere of Australian horror flick The Tunnel, Paramount Pictures is embracing BitTorrent by offering the movie as a free download. The goal is to drum up enough interest for people to buy the special edition DVD, whose two hours of bonus footage includes an alternate ending and a behind-the-scenes documentary. The film, which funded itself by selling individual still frames for $1 each, will forgo a theatrical release.

“Our experience with Paramount has been positive, and we’re impressed with how forward-thinking they’ve been on considering our specific project,” producer and editor Enzo Tedeschi told TorrentFreak, adding that the filmmakers don’t condone or support piracy.

So is The Tunnel even worth the bandwidth? Perhaps, if you liked The Blair Witch Project. A teaser trailer uses the same mockumentary aesthetic, with a TV crew venturing into the real-life tunnels beneath Sydney and discovering something evil. I’m intrigued, but the DVD upgrade might be a tough sell.

Anyway, The Tunnel’s big BitTorrent launch is set for a couple months from now, so keep an eye on those trackers.