New to DVD. Actually new to DVD!

Coming back for seconds, thirds…
After three smash American Pie movies, the film’s producers figure fans are up for a fourth slice.
But American Pie: Band Camp won’t arrive in theaters; it’s going direct to DVD. And only Eugene Levy remains from the original cast of the hit comedy franchise.
For movies that have developed fan bases through several theatrical sequels, direct-to-DVD versions can be a cost-effective way to wring more dollars out of an established movie franchise.
Producer Martin Bregman, whose Carlito’s Way: Rise to Power, the prequel to 1993 Carlito’s Way, arrives on DVD Tuesday, says that with rising production costs and star salaries, “in many cases a film will go directly to DVD because it’s simply a more profitable situation for a studio.”
Carlito’s Way had a budget of $30 million, vs. $9 million for Carlito’s Way: Rise to Power.
Direct-to-DVD sequels √≥ which generally don’t have the stars who carried the original films or the budgets √≥ were once limited to animated films, horror and sci-fi franchises. Now, thrillers, dramas and comedies are getting the treatment.
“It’s all about the story,” says Craig Kornblau, president of Universal Studios Home Entertainment, which is distributing Carlito’s Way: Rise to Power. “The quality is higher, and the films we are choosing are ones that really found their audience in a massive way through DVD.”
The American Pie trilogy took in $351.2 million in theaters and sold millions of DVDs, Kornblau notes, while a special-edition DVD of Scarface – like Carlito’s Way, a modern gangster film produced by Martin Bregman √≥ generated more than $100 million in consumer spending, twice its theatrical gross.
Some films don’t warrant a full-blown theatrical release; the cost for making prints of a movie, plus advertising it, now average $34.4 million, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.
Home video “is a $24 billion (a year) business,” Kornblau says. “And yet there is very little content made only for this business.”
Bregman says many adults prefer watching movies on DVD to going to theaters. “A good movie is a good movie, regardless of where it’s shown.”
Luis Guzman, who was in the original theatrical Carlito’s Way and stars in the prequel, agrees.
“As an actor, sure, there’s nothing like walking into a theater and sitting in the back and seeing how the audience reacts to a movie you’ve done.
“But at the same time, for me, there’s nothing like being able to sit home with my family and watch an awesome movie right there on DVD. Technology has made it possible to have a home theater system in your living room that’s just as good as going to the movies.”
—— Familiar titles, different faces
Direct-to-DVD sequels often don’t have the same stars as the originals. Details of some upcoming releases:
Out Tuesday, Carlito’s Way: Rise to Power (Universal, $27), actually a prequel, finds Jay Hernandez (Ladder 49, Friday Night Lights) portraying a young Carlito Brigante, played by Al Pacino in the 1993 original. Luis Guzman plays hit man Nacho Reyes.
On Oct. 25, Single White Female 2: The Psycho (Columbia TriStar, $25), a sequel to the 1992 movie about roomates gone bad, stars Brooke Burns (TV’s North Shore) and Kristen Miller (Team America: World Police).
On Nov. 11, 8mm2 (Sony, $25), a sequel to the 1999 snuff-movie thriller that starred Nicolas Cage, arrives.
On Dec. 27, American Pie: Band Camp (Universal, price not set) focuses on Steve Stifler’s little brother, Matt, played by newcomer Tad Hilgenbrinck. Eugene Levy, the only major cast member from the three previous movies returning for this, plays a camp counselor.
In 2006, a sequel to the 1994 bull-riding movie 8 Seconds is due, as is a sequel to the 2004 thriller The Butterfly Effect, and a fifth House Party, the second sequel to the urban comedy to go direct to DVD.