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There was a time when the term “straight-to-video” conjured up images of cheap, low-quality sequels and B-movie knock-offs, inevitably featuring the likes of Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal, and destined to line the shelves of video rental stores without ever making it to the vaunted window display.

But now online video streaming services such as Netflix and iTunes are threatening to banish rental shops to the past, and as they venture into the game of securing platform-exclusive releases — any sense of superiority or legitimacy attached to a cinematic run might be set to disappear, too.

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