Free internet "Star Trek" spoof is top Finnish film

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HELSINKI (Reuters) - A spoof of science-fiction classic "Star Trek" has become Finland's most viewed movie, relying on free distribution over the Internet to reach more than three million viewers in less than two months.

"Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning" is a full-length feature in Finnish with English subtitles. It was made by a group of students and other amateur film makers with a bare-bones budget and a few home computers to create elaborate special effects.

According to the Finnish internet hosting firm Magentasites Oy, which is helping to distribute Star Wreck, 2.92 million copies have been downloaded from the film's website (http://www.starwreck.com) since 1 October, and an estimated 600,000 copies have gone out through various mirror sites.

Finland's most-viewed film in the movie theatres is war epic "The Unknown Soldier" (1955) with 2.8 million viewers.

The success of Star Wreck comes as the film industry grapples with the threats and opportunities of the Internet.

Movie studios are fearful of the rampant piracy that has ravaged their music label counterparts, but are also hoping to use the internet to cut distribution costs and open up new markets.

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