Tuesday, January 03, 2006

 

Snow White's Little Shop of Horrors?

Here is some fascinating news. Roger Corman, the so-called "B-Movie King," is quoted in the Vancouver Sun as having signed a DVD distribution deal for his 400-film library with none other than... Walt Disney's Buena Vista Home Entertainment. This, despite the fact that another distributor offered more money for the films. I met and spoke with Corman at the DVD Entertainment Conference in Los Angeles a few years back, when he delivered the expo's keynote address. It was clear then that throughout his career, he made the deals that made the most sense for his films. Same principle seems to hold true in the Disney deal. Corman said he decided to take the lower offer from Disney "because they were going to put more money into the distribution, and they can command more shelf space than almost anyone else." Good reason to sign. Corman, who is one of the true survivors in the film industry, went on to say, "This business can be a little bit cutthroat ... so the fact the Disney people were friendly and were willing to really work with us, and share their expertise on mass marketing, really went a long way." While odd at first glance, this is no more strange than Disney buying up Miramax a few years back. What is fascinating to me is, despite these bold moves, Disney, more than any other functioning studio, has been able to retain a unique brand identity for family films that is second to none in the business. Behind the scenes, Disney may own the studio that produced Pulp Fiction, and now control the distribution on the production company behind Little Shop of Horrors and Murders in the Rue Morgue, but its face is still that of Mickey Mouse's and its films, like the current hit, The Chronicles of Narnia, still evoke a family-friendly approach.

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