MGM Films: According to Variety, MGM Home Entertainment is getting into the direct-to-DVD business via sequels.

The move puts MGM in the DVD premiere movie market that has mushroomed into an estimated $3 billion category.

First up, Dec. 7, is Species III, featuring an appearance by the original alien hybrid (Natasha Henstridge) and starring newcomer Sunny Mabrey. The release is timed to follow a special-edition DVD release of "Species" on Oct. 19.

The studio also has coordinated a one-time-only showing of Species III on the Sci Fi cable network Nov. 27 that will serve as an extended TV promotion for the marketing of the DVD. Disc will offer a more racy R-rated version and an even saucier unrated cut that features about one minute of additional nudity not in the R edition.

Also planned are sequels to "Roadhouse," "War Games" and "The Cutting Edge." In all cases, MGM hopes the DVD premiere sequels will boost homevid sales of the originals.

Typically, live-action DVD premiere movies are budgeted at somewhere between $2 million and $8 million, with most on the lower end.

MGM has not set any mandates for the number of DVD premiere movies it will release each year.

Brian B.