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The Direct-to-DVD Stop-Gap

17 Oct, 2005 By: Stephanie Prange

Paramount Home Entertainment is only the latest to announce a renewed push into the direct-to-DVD world with its DVD Premiere division. The change has come of necessity.

With the theatrical channel faltering (both revenue and attendance is down this year) and catalog tapped, the studios are looking to create their own stuff to fill in the missing revenue. Witness Universal Studios Home Entertainment's successful release of Carlito's Way: Rise to Power, a prequel to the 1993 feature film Carlito's Way. There have even been spinoffs of TV DVD successes, such as the “Family Guy”-spawned direct-to-DVD release Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment has been cranking out the “princess”-themed DVDs and other spinoffs of successful characters in the direct-to-DVD realm and has picked up the library of ‘B'-movie king Roger Corman — all to make up for a theatrical slowdown and feed the DVD engine.

This weekend, I heard Roger Ebert declare that folks should rush to the theaters to see the great product coming out. I think he's probably right. I've had a great experience there recently. Tim Burton's Corpse Bride was a truly good and original film — the kind of feature that rekindles a passion for film.

I just hope the moviegoing public feels that passion again to feed the DVD pipeline that could soon be running empty.

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