[[quoteright:264:[[WebAnimation/HomestarRunner http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/StrongBadDTV.jpg]]]]

->'' "[[http://www.theonion.com/articles/land-before-time-vi-released-straight-to-landfill,3766/ Land Before Time VI Released Straight To Landfill]]"''
-->-- '''Website/TheOnion'''

[[WhatAreRecords New tropers are going to be really confused by this one in twenty years or so, huh?]] Well, anyway...

Simply put, this is the practice of skipping theaters/television and just going straight to home video as the first release. This is generally not a good sign in terms of quality (especially if it ''was'' originally going to be released theatrically, but was consigned to video), the term "direct-to-video" or "straight-to-video" often gets used as slang for [[TheyJustDidntCare "cheaply made, rushed, low quality"]], and in extreme cases, "complete bucket of crap."

In the United States, while there have been plenty of direct-to-video films and such since the advent of home video, they were usually things that were considered financially unsound to release in theaters, like instructional videos, specialized documentaries, foreign films, films with controversial or niche subject matter, and pornography. The practice of creating and releasing regular fiction specifically for video didn't really take off until 1994 with Creator/{{Disney}}'s ''[[Disney/{{Aladdin}} Return of Jafar]]'' and Creator/{{Universal}}'s ''TheLandBeforeTime II'', neither of which was intended to hit theaters at any point in its production.[[note]]The financial failure of ''Disney/TheRescuersDownUnder'' was what caused Disney to decide to do this with their sequels. Repeated itself when in the mid 2000s they tried again with sequels for ''Disney/PeterPan'' and ''Disney/TheJungleBook''. Once again, the failure of those films resumed their straight to DVD methods.[[/note]] Other studios started following suit, hardly limited to child-oriented animation. In particular, independent studios and filmmakers quickly picked up on this distribution model, due to its lower distribution costs and reduced censorship (video stores will often stock [[UnratedEdition unrated]] films that theaters won't touch).

Internationally, many films that had a theatrical release may be released Direct-to-Video in other countries [[note]]The ''PowerpuffGirls'' movie for example, after its flop in the U.S., was converted to direct to video for the European market (although it did get a British cinema release).[[/note]]. This may be due to several factors: it might be a sign that the film was a complete failure in its home country, or it might be because the subject matter or style limit its appeal in a particular foreign market.

There is a distinct business model that drives the direct-to-video industry, particularly when it involves lower-quality films. One might think that churning out mediocre-to-bad movies on purpose would be a dumb idea, until one looks at the sales and rental figures. A cheap 70- to 90-minute film can be produced for as little as a few thousand dollars if you hire obscure actors, crew and writers (often non-UsefulNotes/{{union|s in Hollywood}}, and barely getting minimum wage), [[CaliforniaDoubling everything gets shot around the studio]], and nothing is required that can't be obtained from the studio's stock wardrobe and props. Or, as has been trending since the mid-2000s, animation will now be done as [[SpecialEffectsFailure pretty cheap]] CGI movies. The studio then usually makes about $3-5 million off this, most of it from sales to rental chains. It floods the market with tripe into which nobody put any true effort, but it still makes money in the long run. It's the [[SpiritualSuccessor modern equivalent]] of the BMovie; in fact, many of these would be B movies if double features were still a regular thing. Some direct-to-video flicks will [[PolishTheTurd try to make lemonade of their lemons]] by claiming that their movie is "too intense", "too scary", "too well-written" or "too lavishly budgeted" for theaters, usually the viewers don't fall for it.

Sometimes, things that were originally intended to be Direct to Video end up getting retrofitted to show on television or in theaters. Usually, only some minimal editing is done to make it fit for theaters, but there have been cases where the project was intervened midway and beefed up to make it quite a bit better. An example of the former is ''WesternAnimation/Dougs1stMovie'', which was put into theaters after the success of ''The {{Rugrats}} Movie''. A famous example of the latter is ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory2'', on which {{Pixar}} expanded tremendously for its theatrical release, along with another Disney film, ''WesternAnimation/RecessSchoolsOut''. More recently, ''Honey 2'' - intended as a DirectToVideo movie (which is still the case in North America) got a European theatrical release first... and no, Creator/JessicaAlba [[CaptainObvious did not return]].

In Japan, {{OVA}}s follow the same model of distribution, but have the opposite expectations in terms of their quality. With larger budgets and without ExecutiveMeddling or the strict requirements of the {{Media Watchdog}}s, [=OVAs=] are expected to be significantly better than television-based anime. Live-action direct-to-video, known as "V-cinema" overseas (although this is [[BrandNameTakeover technically a trademark of Toei Company]]), also has a much better reputation in Japan. This is due mainly to the number of established filmmakers who use it for their more "experimental" or unusual work, enjoying the greater creative freedom and lack of censorship.

In short, while "direct-to-video" means "too bad for theaters" in the West, OVA means "too good for a TV series" in the East.

In a further expansion of the phenomenon, it has become increasingly common for {{Missing Episode}}s of shows that were [[ScrewedByTheNetwork canceled early]] to first see the light of day on the home video release.

!!Noteworthy direct-to-video releases (examples by source media)


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The American releases of the ''Film/{{Pokemon}}'' movies, beginning with the sixth one; the closest they get to a theatrical release now is a premiere on Creator/CartoonNetwork.
* ''Anime/LegendOfTheGalacticHeroes'', being 110 episodes long (i.e. longer than most TV series) was -- to many viewers' surprise -- an OVA released straight-to-Laserdisc. The result is a tight script with virtually no PlotHole nor {{Filler}}. Limited animation budget somehow effectively avoided StockFootage usage throughout long-winded space battles... almost (StockFootage was used occasionally, but the interval between each usage can easily be wide up to tens of episodes that you won't notice it once it's in effect).
* ''Anime/TheAnimatrix'' is probably the second best thing that ever happened to Film/TheMatrix franchise (with the sequels rarely on fans' favorite list, the video game adaptations fall victim to the [[TheProblemWithLicensedGames typical syndrome]] and the graphic novels largely forgettable). Most of its success can be credited to bold exploration into the Matrix mythos, a return to the cyberpunk theme (that was never revisited by the sequels) and the excellent hand-drawn as well as CGI animation.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* There have recently been a series of Creator/MarvelComics direct-to-video animated adaptation such as ''WesternAnimation/UltimateAvengers'' and ''WesternAnimation/HulkVs'', which in practice are more like [=OVAs=]: both better animated and less-censored than their television counterparts.
* Creator/DCComics has a similar line of such productions, including ''WesternAnimation/SupermanDoomsday'' (adapted from ''ComicBook/TheDeathOfSuperman'') and ''WesternAnimation/WonderWoman''.
* ''ComicBook/TheBeano Video'' and it's sequel were both Direct to video. These were a number of animated shorts featuring characters from The Beano.
* The ''WesternAnimation/HellboyAnimated'' series comprises two films: ''Sword of Storms'' and ''Blood and Iron''. (Both films did air on Creator/CartoonNetwork shortly ''after'' they were released on DVD.) In spite of having much of the voice work provided by the same actors from the ''Film/{{Hellboy}}'' live-action films, ''Animated'' is a distinct continuity. If anything, it's closer to [[Comicbook/{{Hellboy}} the original comics]].

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* In the run of ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'' animated specials:
** ''It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown'' (1996, made in 1992 for TV but unaired until after the video release)
** ''It Was My Best Birthday Ever, Charlie Brown!'' (1997)
** ''It's the Pied Piper, Charlie Brown'' (2000)
** ''WesternAnimation/HappinessIsAWarmBlanketCharlieBrown'' (2011). This is the first ''Peanuts'' special produced without the involvement of longtime producer Bill Melendez, who died in 2008. The artwork in the special is actually an ArtShift that reflects the classic early drawing style of the ''Peanuts'' specials of TheSixties.
* The CGI ''ComicStrip/{{Garfield}}'' movies ''Garfield Gets Real'', ''Garfield's Fun Fest'' and ''Garfield's Pet Force'' were all released this way.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* Most of the ''WesternAnimation/OpenSeason'' franchise.
* Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon
** Disney has released direct-to-videos to a significant portion of its animated canon , animated by the company's various television animation units. At first they were follow-ups to TheRenaissanceAgeOfAnimation titles, but they gradually shifted back to films from the [[TheGoldenAgeOfAnimation Golden]] and [[TheDarkAgeOfAnimation Dark]] ages. There are also a few titles based on WesternAnimation/ClassicDisneyShorts characters and Winnie-the-Pooh, while at least one film was a CompilationMovie consisting of the completed episodes of an aborted [=TV=] spinoff. In TheNewTens, Disney's only efforts in this vein are the ''[[Franchise/DisneyFairies Tinkerbell]]'' CGI films.
** Ironically there are a few Disney sequels that have gotten theatrical runs ''Return to Neverland'' and ''Jungle Book 2''. This was meant to continue with ''Lilo and Stitch 2'' and ''The Lion King 1/2'' (hence why they have higher production values) but due to the disappointment of the previous two films, followed the Direct-To-DVD tread.
** And the Tinker Bell movies (with the exception of The Pirate Fairy, thanks to ''Film/MuppetsMostWanted coming out at the same time) are shown at the El Capitan so they can be nominated for an Oscar, but it never seems to happen.
* Pixar has so far averted averting this, however.
* Also averted with the ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}}'' SpinOff ''WesternAnimation/{{Planes}}''. It was originally going to be released direct-to-DVD but it later got released theatrically.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLandBeforeTime'' series, with [[{{Sequelitis}} 12 sequels]] that all went straight-to-video. And then finally, Creator/{{Universal}} decided to produce an animated series.
* The third and fourth ''WesternAnimation/AnAmericanTail'' movies, which screwed with the canon by putting Fievel back in UsefulNotes/NewYorkCity, making ''Fievel Goes West'' AllJustADream, and omitting characters from the first movie.
* The travesty that is ''WesternAnimation/TheSecretOfNIMH II''.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Most of National Lampoon's later films have been released direct-to-video. Not surprisingly, this coincides with the steep fall in quality that their films have taken.
* ''Film/SlumdogMillionaire'' was almost released this way until Fox Searchlight signed on as distributor.
* Controversial Japanese director Creator/TakashiMiike loves using direct-to-video V-cinema for many of his more unusual movies, because of the creative freedom this provides him. Miike is often touted as part of the reason for V-cinema's good reputation overseas.
* All of the ''Film/PuppetMaster'' franchise was released straight to video. This was because producer Charles Band thought he would make more money going this route instead of taking it to theaters. In fact, most of Full Moon Entertainment's works are direct-to-video.
* ''Film/TheodoreRex'' was intended to be a theatrical release, but after some complications, including a few failed test screenings, it was released straight to video. Having a budget of $33.5 million, it was the most expensive direct-to-video release of its time.
* Most [[TheMockbuster mockbusters]] use the DTV market in order to dupe unsuspecting customers.
* All of ErnestPWorrell's films after ''Ernest Rides Again''.
* The live-action ''Film/{{Casper}}'' film produced several. They could hardly even really be called "sequels" seeing how they disregarded the continuity of the original movie so completely that the presence of Casper and his uncles was literally the only similarity to the feature film. They haunted a different house in a different town and all movie-based characters were dropped, all without explanation. And, of course, there was also the expected downgrade in the quality of the CGI. (It should be noted that [[Creator/StevenSpielberg Amblin]], ILM and Universal were not involved with the sequels, though Universal and Amblin did produce the better-received animated series.) Incidentally, the ''Casper'' "sequels" gave a very young Music/HilaryDuff in her first acting role as Wendy in ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4DXSGhF-To Casper Meets Wendy]]''.
* All {{Nollywood}} movies are like this.
* The ''Film/UniversalSoldier'' franchise is an interesting case of this. A pair of DTV films (''Brothers In Arms'' and ''Unfinished Business'') were released in 1998 sans any of the original cast members, and focused on lead character Luc Deveraux's attempts to stop the [=UniSol=] program from smuggling diamonds while helping reporter Veronica Roberts clear her name after the events of the original film. The DTV sequels were subsequently retconned by 1998's theatrical ''Universal Soldier: The Return''. That film, in turn, was retconned by 2010's DTV ''Universal Soldier: Regeneration'', which disregards everything except the original.
* ''In The Electric Mist'', an acclaimed crime drama with Tommy Lee Jones and John Goodman and directed by Bertrand Tavernier that had the misfortune of going straight-to-DVD after failing to find a distributor. It did manage a brief theatrical run though after the film rented well.
* You would think that a movie starring Music/MichaelJackson put out in 1988 would have no trouble getting a theatrical release -- and you would be right... except that ''Film/{{Moonwalker}}'' wound up going straight-to-video in the US after Jackson's then-manager Frank [=DiLeo=] asked for an exorbitant share of the box office takings.
* An interesting case is the 2006 thriller ''The Contract'', which starred John Cusack as a school coach who unwittingly ends up having to escort an assassin (played by Creator/MorganFreeman, no less) during a camping trip and avoid a group of the assassin's cohorts while he tries to bring him back to police custody. Despite having several major film and television stars attached to the project, the production (which cost $25 million) was shut down after 50 days by Millennium Films, leaving the director to finish the project with money out of his own pocket. The resulting film was unceremoniously dumped on DVD stateside after a limited theatrical showing -- ''in France''.
* Millennium Films also produced the Morgan Freeman/Antonio Bandaras heist film ''The Code'' (a.k.a. ''Thick As Thieves''), which revolved around a veteran thief recruiting a younger crook to help him pull off a final job to pay off the Russian mob. Despite attracting some top-tier talent -- Mimi Leder (''Film/DeepImpact'') directed and Creator/TomHardy co-starred -- the film was also dumped on DVD without a theatrical release (it was however the top-renting movie the week it was released on DVD, giving sort of a happy ending for the film).
* ''Film/TheMaidenHeist'' was released straight to DVD after the distributor Yari Film Group went bankrupt.
* The first film version of ''Film/ThePunisher1989'' was planned for a US theatrical release by its makers New World Pictures, but the new owners decided to focus more on television and elected to sit on this, ''Film/{{Warlock}}'' and ''Meet The Applegates'' (although all three did open as planned outside the US through other distributors). The other two did get American theatrical release eventually, but ''The Punisher'' spent two years on the shelf before going to video.
* As if being shelved by Creator/DreamWorks / Creator/{{Paramount}} for years before its 2012 theatrical release wasn't enough, Paramount cancelled the British release of ''A Thousand Words'' following its terrible American reception - and thus it went straight to DVD.
* The 2004 film ''Envy'', starring Ben Stiller and Creator/JackBlack, was released straight to DVD in all of Europe following its negative American reception.
* Creator/LiamNeeson signed up for ''Film/{{Taken}}'' thinking it was going to be released this way.
* The sixth installment to the ''Film/ChildsPlay'' franchise, "Curse of Chucky".
* A lot of Creator/UweBoll 's films.
* ''Film/{{Soldier}}'' bombed so badly in the US, that it went for a straight to video release in other countries.
* Creator/RobertRodriguez originally intended to make ''Film/ElMariachi'' for Spanish home video.
* Two popular movies of the early-'90s -- ''Film/DennisTheMenace'' and ''Film/RichieRich'' -- were given direct-to-video sequels in 1998 from Warner Bros. Family Entertainment. The former received ''Dennis the Menace Strikes Again'', while the latter was saddled with ''Richie Rich's Christmas Wish''. Neither movie featured its predecessor's original cast, nor was either movie ''nearly'' as well-received.
* The same year, Warner Bros. Family Entertainment also put out ''[[Series/TheAddamsFamily Addams Family Reunion]]'' in the same manner. It fared about as well as the prior mentioned movies, though unlike those, ''Reunion'' was not intended as a direct sequel to [[Film/TheAddamsFamily the first two films in its series]].
* 2013's ''Blood Ties'', despite its impressive cast (Clive Owen, MarionCotillard, Creator/MilaKunis, ZoeSaldana, James Caan), went straight to DVD in Britain.
* After it bombed at the U.S. box-office in February 2014, ''Film/VampireAcademy'' went straight to DVD in Britain in early July.
* In 2008, ''Entertainment Weekly'' released an article entitled "Would You Dump this Woman?" (which you can read [[http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20175469,00.html here]]) which detailed the tumultuous production of [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy_Heckerling Amy Heckerling's]] ''[[Film/ICouldNeverBeYourWoman I Could Never Be Your Woman]]'' (starring [[Creator/MichellePfeiffer Michelle Pfeiffer]] and [[Creator/PaulRudd Paul Rudd]]) and how it went straight-to-video in the first place.
* ''Film/CaptainAmerica1990'' did receive theatrical distribution in some foreign markets, but it went straight to VHS in the US due to financing problems.
* After Sony cancelled the theatrical release of ''Film/TheInterview'' in late 2014, it released the film to WebSite/YouTube and then to Creator/{{Netflix}}.

* A series of RichardScarry's animated [[EdutainmentShow educational]] videos that are produced between 1989 and 1994.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The pioneer of this for spin-offs of TV series was probably the ''Series/BabylonFive'' spin-off ''Series/TheLostTales'', which was intended to be the first of a series of [=DVDs=] until Creator/JMichaelStraczynski decided that he couldn't tolerate the artistic limitations created by the low budget (which many cynical people translated as "not even enough [[CrackIsCheaper completist fans]] bought it for it to make any money").
* ''Series/StargateSG1'' has two direct-to-video sequel movies : ''Stargate: Film/TheArkOfTruth'' and ''Film/StargateContinuum''.
* Franchise/SuperSentai:
** The annual [[{{Crossover}} team-up films]] that started with ''[[Series/ChourikiSentaiOhranger Ohranger]] vs. [[Series/NinjaSentaiKakuranger Kakuranger]]'' were originally straight-to-video releases until ''[[Series/EngineSentaiGoOnger Go-onger]] vs. [[Series/JukenSentaiGekiranger Gekiranger]]'', in which they started getting theatrical premieres instead.
** ''[[Series/RescueSentaiGogoFive Gogo-V]]'' had a tie-in video titled ''Clash! The New Super Warrior'' (aka ''Gogo-V vs. Zeek''), which focused on a new hero created just for the movie in order to make up for the lack of a SixthRanger in the actual show.
** Every Sentai since ''Series/SamuraiSentaiShinkenger'' (with the exception of ''Series/KaizokuSentaiGokaiger'') had a "Come Back!" special that were released on home video after their respective finales were aired.
** Its Western counterpart had an unintentional example: The finale for ''Series/PowerRangersSamurai'' was first released on Netflix almost a week before it aired and as part of the DVD boxset days later. Saban had planned the DVD to release days after the finale aired, but Nickelodeon pushed the show back a week when it came back from hiatus so the DVD got out first.
* ''Franchise/KamenRider'':
** ''Film/ShinKamenRiderPrologue'' was a direct to video movie.
** Also, in the Heisei era, there are Hyper Battle Videos, which act as {{clip show}}s for the respective show and usually show off something that will be exclusive to the video (for example: [[Series/KamenRiderFaiz A boombox that makes everyone dance]], [[Series/KamenRiderKabuto a super mode for one of the riders]], and [[Series/KamenRiderKiva a form that combines two forms into one]].)
** ''Series/KamenRiderDouble'' had two direct-to-DVD movies focusing on two of the other Riders in that universe (Accel, the [[SixthRanger Second Rider]], and Eternal, the BigBad of ''[[TheMovie Double Forever]]''.)
** ''Series/KamenRiderGaim'', much like ''Double'' above, will have a pair of direct-to-DVD movies focusing on two of its main riders other than the titular one: Zangetsu and Baron.
* Many BBC panel games in TheNineties made special episodes only released on VHS, including ''Series/HaveIGotNewsForYou'' and ''Series/NeverMindTheBuzzcocks''. The "will never be seen on TV" advertising was sometimes mocked by the later examples with jokes along the lines of "...except when you watch it by putting the tape into the VCR".
* As British fans of ''Series/BreakingBad'', ''Series/{{Damages}}'' and other American TV series have discovered, it is possible for them to go direct to DVD in the UK once their broadcasters ([[Creator/ChannelFive FiveUSA]] for the former, [[Creator/TheBBC BBC1]] for the latter, and FX for both) have dropped them and if no other channel picks them up (although Netflix has since come to the rescue for both of these shows, among others (''Series/DropDeadDiva'', ''Series/ItsAlwaysSunnyInPhiladelphia''...).

* The critically acclaimed ''Series/BabySongs'' MusicVideo series.
* Most concert videos. While films in the past like Music/LedZeppelin's ''The Song Remains the Same'', Music/TheBand's ''The Last Waltz'' and Music/TalkingHeads' ''Film/StopMakingSense'' have had theatrical releases, they haven't really been box-office blockbusters, but the artists have loyal audiences for live footage. Hence, direct-to-DVD makes a lot of financial sense for these live videos.

* In a rare example of a decent DTV, the ''Franchise/{{Bionicle}}'' films.
* The ''[[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyG3 My Little Pony]]'' cartoons' longer G3 "Core 7" and SpinOffBabies G3.5 ''Once Upon a My Little Pony Time'' shorts.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The majority of video game franchises from the 1980s and 1990s originally began as arcade games and are nowadays released directly to consoles. Even during the "Golden Age" of the arcades (the 80s and 90s), some of these franchises already had a few made-for-console sequels.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'' parodies this and {{Mockbuster}}s in the [=SBEmail=] ''unlicensed''. One of the DVD examples is pictured above on this page.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''[[WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story]]'' and the four ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' direct-to-DVD movies were made with intent of ultimately cutting the episodes up for airing on TV as three-parters and four-parters respectively. Though in the case of ''Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story'', the movie is considered the definitive cut and as such, the TV edit "episodes" are omitted from DVD releases. The DVD also has about 20 minutes of bonus footage (involving the "premiere" of the movie in theaters and a [[NoFourthWall fourth-wall breaking]] after party where the characters discuss the real-life cancellation of the series) that was not shown on TV. The four ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' movies sold so well and got such a positive reaction from fans that they continued the series.
* Humorously, in ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventuresHowISpentMyVacation'', the credits claim it went straight to video because "it's that darn good" (which is probably more true than they're joking, since the movie is basically an OVA, as it was done by Creator/{{TMS|Entertainment}} in Japan).
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'' AlternateUniverse film, ''WesternAnimation/WakkosWish''.
* A few ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' episodes were released on DVD before airing on TV.
** "One Good Scare Ought to Do It!" made its US debut on the DVD ''The Fast and the Phineas'', over two months before its US TV premiere on DisneyChannel.
** "Unfair Science Fair" and "Unfair Science Fair Redux" (Another Story) made their US debut on the DVD ''The Daze of Summer'', around a week before their US TV premieres on Creator/DisneyXD.
** "The Doof Side of the Moon" made its US debut on the DVD ''A Very Perry Christmas'', three days before its US TV premiere on DisneyChannel.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Recess}}'':
** ''WesternAnimation/RecessTakingTheFifthGrade'' and ''Recess: All Growed Down'' were both DTV movies, consisting of unaired episodes and linking material.
** ''WesternAnimation/RecessSchoolsOut'' was planned as this, but Disney wanted a theatrical release due to the show's popularity. With an expansion of the plot and an AnimationBump, it turned out to be a success. In a few foreign areas, it ''was'' released as this, though, particularly in areas where ''Recess'' wasn't much heard of or not as popular than in other countries.
* All of the ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry'' films except for [[WesternAnimation/TomAndJerryTheMovie the first one]]. One of the most recent ones [[{{Crossover}} crosses over]] with ''Film/TheWizardOfOz''.
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanMaskOfThePhantasm'' is a borderline case. Intended as DTV, it received a short theatrical run with no alterations.
* DC now has a whole series of direct-to-DVD animated films, from Warner Premier. The fact that they are DirectToVideo has absolutely no bearing on their [[SoCoolItsAwesome quality]].
* Several episodes of ''WesternAnimation/{{Rugrats}}'' were originally released on VHS before premiering on television.
* The ''[[WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls Powerpuff Girls Movie]]'', while released in the U.S theatrical (and sadly bombing due to lousy marketing from Creator/WarnerBros) was released in foreign markets straight to DVD. Subsequently many of Creator/CartoonNetwork MadeForTV movies were also released this way as well.
* ''Franchise/AlvinAndTheChipmunks'' has three: ''WesternAnimation/AlvinAndTheChipmunksMeetFrankenstein'', ''WesternAnimation/AlvinAndTheChipmunksMeetTheWolfman'' and ''Film/LittleAlvinAndTheMiniMunks''.
* There is a series of ''Franchise/ScoobyDoo'' movies that are Direct-to-Video. Some of which have surprising quality (''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooLegendOfThePhantosaur'', ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooCampScare'', ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooOnZombieIsland''...). Others are okay (''WesternAnimation/ChillOutScoobyDoo''...).
* Several ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'' episodes were released on DVD before they aired on television.
** An extreme example would be the DVD ''Bikini Bottom Adventures'' -- at the time when the DVD was released, none of the episodes were on television.
** "[=SpongeBob=] Meets the Strangler" and "Pranks a Lot" were released the VHS/DVD release ''The Seascape Capers'' before airing on TV.
* All the ''Franchise/{{Barbie}}'' movies.
* Most seasons of ''WesternAnimation/ThomasTheTankEngine'' have some episodes released on video or DVD before they are broadcast on TV. Most notably, the third season had sixteen episodes (over half a season's worth) released on video the year before they were actually broadcast, and the fourth season had eight episodes released on tape the year before they were shown on TV. Notably, the music and sound effects present in these episodes were altered in the TV airings and all subsequent video releases, making the early season 3 and 4 videos more sought-after than most. The early Season 3 episodes even had their entire narration redone after the initial video release. The majority of the feature-length specials are given a limited release in select cinemas (mostly via the now-defunct Kidtoons Films and at the Theater at Mall Of America during Toddler Tuesdays) before the DVD release, but ''Calling All Engines'' was released on DVD and VHS without a theatrical release.
* Britt's other work, ''WesternAnimation/TheMagicAdventuresOfMumfie'' had its movie-length epic "Mumfie's Quest" released this way. Many people found it so great that it deserved to be released into theaters. Mumfie eventurally got released into theaters in 1997 as part of a summer movie program. The catch? Only camps could attend the movie, and the theater chain in question was only in 35 states. And it was screened at libraries in Napa Valley, California and Florida.