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Wednesday, Jun 7, 2023

‘Indie’ Company Moves Into Feature Films, Valley

The maturation of the DVD market and the recent box office slump hasn’t stopped Sherman Oaks-based Cinamour Entertainment LLC from plunging into the feature film production game, as the company prepares a DVD release of its first feature film production, “Forbidden Warrior,” this month and has recently begun pre-production on its second film, “From Mexico with Love.” The move into the movie realm represents an expansion of strategy for the five year-old company, which had formerly been best known for distributing the popular reality show, “Cheaters.” Though the company’s CEO Glen Hartford pointed out that the company does have some feature film experience. “After successfully selling a diverse slate of feature films both domestically and internationally for outside producers, we decided to maximize revenues both short term and long term by producing our own features to sell to our regular clients,” Hartford said. Some of the films that the studio distributed including horror/slasher flicks, “Halloween 4,” and “Halloween 5.” Most recently the company has expanded its distribution of documentaries about The Walt Disney Co. Move to Valley A desire to forge stronger ties with the entertainment oligarchs based in the Valley also led Cinamour to recently relocate to Sherman Oaks from its previous digs in Santa Monica. “We’re looking to expand our relationships with the major studios and our new office in more conveniently located for that purpose, as well as being close to our preferred post production facilities,” Hartford said. “We’re in the process of forging alliances with domestic theatrical and DVD distributors to ensure our programming will be released to the widest possible market.” However, the road to success in the DVD market today isn’t as easy as it was even two years ago. The double-digit growth of a few years back has been replaced with more modest gains. Smaller independent firms like Cinamour have to battle to get shelf space in big box retailers like Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target. “It’s difficult for smaller companies to make headway in the market and it’s not going to get any easier,” Steve Denault, an analyst with Northland Securities, Inc. said. “The majors have realized the potential of the category and are realizing the bulk of their profits on DVDs. They are also starting to realize that there’s money in the niche categories, whether its television series or genre films. Companies that can acquire unique content and think outside the box will definitely have a place in the space, but the easy money has arguably been made.” Sophisticated consumers Hartford was quick to acknowledge this new industry reality. “When you produce good quality programming with good quality artwork, retailers are happy to give you shelf space,” Hartford said. “The days of just creating a good box cover and selling thousands of copies of substandard programming are over. The retailers have become too sophisticated for that, as have the consumers.” But while the ripe fruit may have already been picked, DVD industry experts believe that there is still room for smaller “indie” production houses such as Cinamour to flourish. “It’s a solid business for an indie company to go into. The “genre” films or still doing very well and it’s more than just family and action films. The Steven Seagal/Dolph Lundgren types of films are doing well, as are the horror and thriller films,” Scott Hettrick, the editor-in-chief of DVD Exclusive and Video Business magazines and the home entertainment editor at Variety, said. “You’re even seeing all the major studios getting into it. These types of films used to exclusively be the domain of indies, but now everyone’s realizing the potential of these types of movies.”

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