Paramount Kicks Off Direct-To-DVD ProductionBy Michelle
October 22, 2005 - 4:23 PM
Paramount Home Entertainment is launching a new DVD Premiere division to produce direct-to-DVD features from franchises the studio believes are underperforming at the box office but have devoted fan bases, like FOX has done with The Family Guy and Universal with American Pie.
Variety reports that releasing films directly to DVD to appeal to target audiences has reaped profits for other studios, and Paramount hopes to capitalise on the trend. "We are uniquely positioned to capitalize on the growing consumer demand for original DVD programming by utilizing the strength of all the Viacom brands," noted senior vice president Ellen Pittleman. Pittleman was behind the financing of the direct-to-DVD Bob Dylan documentary No Direction Home and Paramount Home Entertainment's Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure, based on the children's classic and released exclusively on DVD.
DVD Premiere department plans to release six to eight original DVD productions per year. Some of the productions scheduled for early 2006 may receive a theatrical release, such as Jonathan Demme's documentary about Neil Young's Prairie Wind tour. There will also be a direct-to-DVD sequel to Save The Last Dance starring Jacqueline Bisset and Izabella Miko.
Variety notes that unlike many studios who limit original DVD releases to projects acquired by outside producers, Paramount will develop and produce its own projects. Pittleman said that the facilities mirror the theatrical division, though most of the studio's DVD movies are shot in 21 days.
Which begs the question: might Star Trek features be produced by Paramount directly for the home DVD market, which would bypass the expense of a theatrical release and the limitations of a weekly serial?
The original item is at Variety.