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Starship Troopers 3 (DVD Cover)

Sony Pictures

I'm wondering about straight-to-video releases. It has to be obvious to everyone involved during filming that the movie they had hoped would be "box-office magic" is actually a stinker, especially when the lead actors are terrible (hello, Jessica Simpson!). So why go through with something that not only has no hope of ever making any money but will eventually be an embarrassment for all?
—CJM

You obviously speak of the Simpson bomb Blonde Ambition. You should know that clunker was made for the nearly microscopic—in Hollywood terms—sum of somewhere between $10 million and $12 million. Not even a Woody Allen movie is that cheap. Obviously these producers thought if the movie was inexpensive enough, they would have to make at least a little profit. They, shall we say, miscalculated, though the movie did reach No. 1...in Ukraine.

However, you should know that some movies are made with the express intention of skipping theaters and going straight to disc. The big motivation: saving money, not losing it. Find out which actors and cult-hit franchises are benefiting from the flourishing straight-to-DVD market, after the jump.

Suppose you’re a producer. You’ve spent a giant pimp wad of cash building a fan base for stories like Bring It On or Starship Troopers. Naturally you want to keep milking those bug-fighting space soldiers without a ton of risk. So you make a sequel for DVD release, which, according to one film-marketing buddy of mine, will save you up to 80 percent versus a theater release.

“You don’t have to sell a million units to make your money back,” my marketer explains.

And that’s great news for Casper Van Dien, who just made the third installment of Starship Troopers for a straight-to-DVD release. (Thought I was just making that example up, didn’t you?) Also, Corey Haim has filmed a new straight-to-DVD flick based on 1987’s The Lost Boys. Thanks to Lost Boys: The Tribe, the franchise is officially an ongoing suckfest.

Even rising actors are embracing the straight-to-DVD market. In 2006, Hayden Panettiere starred in Bring It On: All or Nothing—the third flick about ebony ’n’ ivory cheerleaders. That movie was made with the intention of going straight to DVD. And it certainly hasn’t hurt Hayden’s reputation any.