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Blu-ray Finds a Superhero

14 Oct, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel


Hi-definition format not only takes greater percentage of disc sales in September, it reaffirms consumer interest in packaged media

Strong sales of Thor, X-Men: First Class and Star Wars: The Complete Saga, among others, have helped create a renaissance of sorts for Blu-ray Disc and packaged media, according to a new report.

Thor (Disney) and Stars Wars (Fox) generated a 156% surge in BD sales in the week ending Sept. 18 — a week after the format posted a 131% sales rise on the heels of X-Men: First Class (Fox), according to research firm IHS. Blu-ray releases of Tyler Perry’s Big Happy Family (Lionsgate), Sons of Anarchy: Season 3 (Fox) and Rio (released Aug. 2 by Fox) contributed to a 60% sales increase during the week ending Sept. 4.

Other new releases generating high BD sales include Universal Studios Home Entertainment's Fast Five, with 50% of sales in the hi-def format since its Oct. 4 release; and Bridesmaids with 30% unit sales in BD since the movie's Sept. 20 retail launch.

Specifically, X-Men: First Class sold an estimated 350,000 Blu-ray copies during the first 72 hours after its Sept. 9 release, and 600,000 units by the end of the first week, according to IHS and Nielsen Videoscan data. Thor and Thor 3D (released Sept. 13) sold a combined 500,000 Blu-ray copies during their first week of release. 3D Blu-ray represented 14% of the title’s total sales, with the BD/DVD combo pack accounting for the remaining 86%.

The much-anticipated Star Wars BD release sold 400,000 units in the first three days following its Sept. 16 release. The six-movie, nine-disc set Stars Wars: The Complete Saga represented 92% of sales, with the original and prequel trilogies accounting for the rest, according to IHS.

Indeed, Blu-ray helped push total (combined with DVD) disc sales up 1% to 10 million units during the week ending Sept. 18, compared with the same period in 2010.

“Studios are starting to bring the crown jewels out of the vault for BD release,” said Jan Saxton, senior U.S. video analyst for IHS. “That, coupled with the first releases from a very strong summer box office, has the potential to turn the movie disc market around.”

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