BANGKOK — Disney’s Buena Vista Home Entertainment is the first U.S. studio to agree to slash DVD movie prices by around 40% in Thailand.

The price cut was initiated by leading home entertainment distrib CVD Entertainment, which wants to boost sales by narrowing the difference between the cost of legit and pirated copies.

CVD is in talks with Fox’s and Sony’s home entertainment arms to try to persuade them to agree to similar discounts.

The list price of Buena Vista DVDs has been cut to about $10 (or lower, depending on retailer discounts) from $17-$20.

Monluedee Sookpantarat, CVD’s chief financial officer, says the move is aimed not only at boosting the company’s sales, but also at narrowing the price gap between legitimate and copied products.

On busy commercial thoroughfare Silom Road in Bangkok, pirated DVDs of Hollywood films go for as little as $3.75.

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Sookpantarat thinks a price of $6.25 will attract local buyers and suggests that figure would be proposed in negotiations with other U.S. studios.

In 2005, CVD will release 22 Hollywood titles per month, totaling 264 titles for the year. The firm also will release eight indie films per month and 24 Thai films for the whole year.