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New Pierce Brosnan Movie, Like Many Others, Sent Straight to Video

Perhaps you've been wondering why your favorite actor remains a millionaire when he doesn't seem to make many movies.

Or maybe you find yourself befuddled when you're looking at the "new" racks at the video store. Why can't you recall any of these great-looking movies ever being featured at the local multiplex? 

The answer is that an untold number of movies — many featuring top-tier actors, directors and producers — go "straight to video" every year because they can't ink a distribution deal. 

When it comes to making a hit movie, producing the film is only half the battle. Getting a film into theaters requires expensive marketing and advertising that only the big studios can manage — and studios are becoming more and more reluctant to take risks on films they fear won't cash in at the box office. 

Pierce Brosnan's James Bond movies have been the type of big-budget blockbusters that studios like to get behind. 

But the actor was shocked when the studios passed on his 1999 film, Grey Owl, the biography of an aboriginal trapper in 1930s Canada who became the world's first environmental activist. Directed by Sir Richard Attenborough, whose other credits include the Oscar-winning Gandhi, the film stars Brosnan in the title role. 

"I really don't know why they didn't take an interest in this film," Brosnan said. "It was a disappointment. I was angry," he said. 

Grey Owl went instead directly to video. Brosnan said the lack of studio interest in the film reflects Hollywood's increasing rejection of smaller, story-oriented films. 

"It's very hard to get a film like this seen by a studio," Brosnan said. "It's a sad state of affairs when they've backed themselves into a corner with these big-budget movies and a style of film-making that's so aggressive at times," he added. 

The explosion in independent film-making over the past few years has proven that it doesn't take a big studio to get a star-studded, Academy-Award® quality film made. But prizes and praise aside, when indie film-makers show their movies at film festivals, it's the distribution deal they're really looking for. 

Kenneth Lonergran, the indie director of the new Paramount Classics release You Can Count on Me, said it's not the quality of the film, but whether the film gets distributed, that ultimately determines the movie's fate. Lonergran had been searching fruitlessly for financing for his film when a prize at the Sundance Film Festival netted him a distribution deal. 

"It sort of changed my life in a way, which is funny, because the work is the same," Lonergran said. "But because a committee of four or five nice people decide to give you a prize, suddenly you are legitimized." 

Brosnan concedes that there are some "fantastic people out there as well" who don't enjoy the blockbuster "hullabaloo, big-budget, wham-bam thank-you ma'am" style of movies. 

But that doesn't explain the question that movie fans, critics and many actors and film-makers keep asking: With such an offering of good, smaller-budget productions to choose from, how do so many bad films end up in theaters? 

The answer, some say, lies with the movie-going public itself. There are plenty of top quality, even award-winning films, that failed to draw an audience, while many bad movies have been smash hits. And Hollywood — like all businesses — is looking for first and foremost for profits. 

Fox News' Robin Wallace and Juliet Huddy contributed to this report