Cinescape Online is reporting that Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane is close to wrapping up a deal that would allow him to create a feature length direct-to-video Family Guy saga featuring Quahog's most dysfunctional family. McFarlane told Cinescape that it would probably take 'a year, a year-and-a-half' before a new Family Guy feature would be available on DVD.
The impetus behind the revival of a series that Fox cancelled is the tremendous success of the Family Guy series on DVD. The first season Family Guy DVD collection sold some 400,000 units in its first two weeks of release -- a performance more typical of a long running hit like Friends rather than a short-lived series like the Family Guy. But it's not just on DVD that the Family Guy series has demonstrated its newfound popularity -- as part of the Adult Swim Block on the Cartoon Network, reruns of the Family Guy have regularly trounced Leno and Letterman (see 'Cartoon Network Ratings Strong').
If, as appears likely, the Family Guy returns in a direct-to-video feature, it may create a paradigm that other cancelled series can follow. Futurama, which was also cancelled by Fox, has been doing very well on the Adult Swim block, and the Futurama full season DVD collections have performed brilliantly in a crowded DVD market. Given the growing popularity of DVD collections (and the high profit margins involved), we could be in for a new wave of OVAs -- original video animated films, which could bypass the exorbitant costs of marketing theatrical films by reaching consumers directly via DVD. It is a system which has created hundreds of classic anime films (Bubblegum Crisis) in Japan and which has been used very profitably by the Disney studio, which created OVA sequels for many of its popular animated features including the Lion King, Jungle Book, and most recently, Lilo & Stitch. Look for this trend to intensify as home video becomes an increasingly important revenue source for Hollywood.