04 February, 2008

"Hollywood finds profit with direct DVD route"

International Herald Tribune:

"If you missed the red carpet premiere for the latest "American Pie" movie, you are not alone. There wasn't one. "American Pie Presents: Beta House," the sixth film in the popular comedy series, was sent straight to DVD.

Once a dumping ground for movies considered virtually unwatchable, the direct-to-DVD pipeline is becoming increasingly important to the development and management of mainstream film franchises.

"The direct-to-video business was making titillating, low-quality movies to feed the rental channel," said Craig Kornblau, president of Universal Studios Home Entertainment. "We discovered we could keep franchises alive with made-for-DVD movies if we made them feature quality."

"Beta House," which arrived at retail outlets late last month, was made specifically for a DVD release and will most likely end up being more profitable for Universal Studios than some of the company's theatrical releases.

The movie, which cost less than $10 million to make, is expected to sell over one million units - in line with two previous "American Pie" installments that were produced specifically for a DVD release, according to Universal. That adds up to a profit of about $20 million, before rental revenue is added."

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