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Corman enters the family video field

By launching a homevideo line devoted to family-oriented films, indie producer/director Roger Corman hopes to match the success he’s had with films in his trademark genres, erotic thrillers and actioners.

Dubbed New Horizons Home Video Family Fare Division, the children’s vid arm of Corman’s already established feature and homevideo company expects to fill a niche with eight to 12 videos each year, all from features or direct-to-vid projects with budgets between $ 1 million and $ 2 million.

Meeting demand

“Roger felt there was a huge demand for family (films) that was not being met ,” said Jonathan Fernandez, president of New Horizons Home Video.

The impetus for getting more involved with kids fare also came from the strong interest in “The Dirt Bike Kid,” a film by his wife, Julie Corman, that was released by the company.

Corman jumped into the production of family films last December on the heels of the company’s success with “White Wolves,” a release from Concorde — the predecessor to New Horizons — that aired on cabler Disney Channel last June.

Corman started New Horizons in 1991 after suing MGM/Pathe and winning back his library of more than 250 titles.

The kid titles account for only about 25% of his planned annual release slate of 36 titles.

The vidcassettes initially will be available for rental, moving into the sell-through arena once a catalog is developed.

Financing for the films will be done in-house, with typical distribution outlets used to get product into the stores.

“We hope to do the same sort of films Disney released in their early days but no longer makes,” Fernandez said, referring to ’60s and ’70s fare such as “The Love Bug,””$ 1,000,000 Duck” and “The Absent Minded Professor.”

The division’s first release, slated for June, will be “Munchie Strikes Back, ” a comedy starring Lesley-Anne Down and Andrew Stevens, with a voiceover from Howard Hesseman as Munchie.

Other titles in the hopper include “No Dessert Dad ‘Til You Mow the Lawn” and “Skateboard Kid II” as well as “Cry in the Wild II,” the sequel to the successful “White Wolves.”

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