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Corman gets a studio home

Exploitation maven Roger Corman, the producer of hundreds of films on the outer fringes of the studio system, is bringing his DVD base to Disney.

Concorde-New Horizons, the company Corman runs from his headquarters in Brentwood, has inked a DVD-distribution pact with Buena Vista Home Entertainment.

Under the 12-year pact announced Wednesday, BVHE gains distribution rights to more than 400 cult-classic Corman films in the U.S. and on select films in Canada.

Corman, who’s never had a DVD distrib deal with a studio, is best known for his low-budget horror and sci-fi movies including 1960’s “The Little Shop of Horrors”; “Rock and Roll High School,” starring the Ramones; and 1975 sci-fi actioner “Death Race 2000,” starring Sylvester Stallone and David Carradine.

Deal with BVHE comes a year after rumors that Corman was putting his company — then dubbed New Concorde — and library up for sale.

In early 2004 Concorde stopped releasing new titles to the video rental market and instead morphed into a budget DVD company, selling library titles cheaply to mass-market sell-through retailers. Concorde began re-releasing films on DVD this summer to rental retailers.

Concorde-New Horizons vice chairman Frank Moreno said Wednesday the company was never up for sale and that it entered distribution discussions with several major studios’ homevideo units to increase its presence at retail.

“In smaller companies like us with smaller product — product that doesn’t get theatrical distribution — you have a harder time getting shelf space,” Moreno said. “We felt we could maximize the potential of the product through something like this.”

Concorde has been able to get its product into Wal-Mart in the budget DVD sections, but Moreno said the company believes that through Buena Vista it will be able to secure higher-profile placement and better marketing support.

(Jennifer Netherby is a reporter for Daily Variety sister publication Video Business.)

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