Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the video store, a whole new line of sequels threatens to crowd the new release shelves. Paramount Famous Prods. announced plans to raid the libraries of Paramount, Paramount Vantage, DreamWorks, MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies in search of source material to sequelize, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Projects already in development include sequels to Mean Girls, Road Trip, The Naked Gun, Bad News Bears and Grease. First out of the gate will be Without a Paddle: Nature's Calling, due out in early 2009.

If you're saying to yourself, "Wait a minute, haven't some of these movies already been sequel-ized, sometimes more than once?" the answer is yes. (Naked Gun, Bad News Bears, Grease). If you're then wondering, "Why more sequels?" the answer is, as Deep Throat told Bob Woodward, "Follow the money." The unit is headed by Louis Feola, who formerly ran Universal Studios Home Entertainment, which made three direct-to-video sequels to American Pie and three to Bring It On. Each sold between one to two million copies, translating into many millions of dollars without the risks and expense of thearical distribution.

I have absolutely no problem with low-budget productions that trade on their resemblance to well-known titles, as long as they're smartly made with a degree of fun, intelligence, and style. That's been in short supply lately in the direct-to-video productions I've seen. We'll see what happens when Paramount Famous starts releasing their line in earnest starting in 2010, at a pace of five to six films annually.