Paramount to use BitTorrent to freely distribute horror film The Tunnel

thetunnelfilmHollywood and BitTorrent have never really seen eye to eye. This is largely because your average Joe Internet User can make use of the file-sharing protocol to download pirated movies with relative ease. It isn’t right but it happens, and frequently, so the powers-that-be in Hollywood have taken a generally aggressive stance toward BitTorrent. With good cause too.

Which makes today’s news all the more noteworthy. In an industry first, a major Tinseltown studio will be making use of the file-sharing protocol to distribute one of its upcoming films for free alongside a direct-to-video release. The studio in question is Paramount and the movie, Australian horror flick The Tunnel, TorrentFreak reports.

The Tunnel was previously set for free distribution via BitTorrent before Paramount got involved. Producer Distracted Media and its founders, Enzo Tedeschi and Julian Harvey, launched a campaign last year to fund the film by selling individual frames to “investors” at $1 a pop. As an added incentive, one lucky frame-buyer would receive a 1 percent share of the movie’s profits.

Now Paramount Pictures has partnered with Distracted Media to distribute The Tunnel on DVD with a May 19 day-and-date release alongside the free BitTorrent version of the film. The DVD will of course include added content that won’t be available online, with “two hours of exclusive footage” that includes an alternate ending and a behind-the-scenes documentary.

The Tunnel is built around a real-life network of tunnels situated beneath Sydney, Australia. Constructed decades ago, the tunnels were originally intended to be used as an underground rail system. The plan was abandoned long ago, and the location eventually served as a base of operations for General Douglas MacArthur during World War II. In the movie, a TV news crew descends into the tunnels to investigate the roots of some sort of controversy… and nastiness ensues. The movie looks pretty sharp and creepy; you can check out the trailer below.