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TK's MORNING BUZZ: In Today's Fast-Paced World of Fourth-Quarter DVD Sales, the Record-Breaking Blast-Off of 'The Phantom Menace' Is Ancient History

18 Oct, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

The big news about The Phantom Menace's long-awaited release on DVD -- it came out Tuesday -- is that we have yet to receive a studio press release touting(pick one:) record first-day, record first-week, all-time record sales.

Last week's war of the words pitted Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (recordfirst-day sales of 1 million units, according to Disney) against The MummyReturns (record first-week sales of 2 million units, according to Universal).

Silent but grinning was Paramount Home Entertainment, which released no figures for its ambitious five-disc, $75 Godfather trilogy. Word at retail, however, is that The Godfather could be the real winner in revenue, if not units, due to its significantly higher sales price.

I took a look at the VideoScan "First Alert" charts, which don't include most of the big family-friendly mass merchants. Snow White came in at No. 1, with The Godfather at No. 3. The Mummy Returns, which came out a week before the other two titles, was at No. 2 (combined sales for the widescreen and pan-and-scan version) after having been on top the previous week.

The Phantom Menace, according to our eyes and ears at retail, is the fastestseller yet, with several big stores we checked already sold out as of mid-afternoon.

But in the fast-paced world of fourth-quarter DVD sales, all that is ancient history. Talk now is drifting toward upcoming blockbusters like Dr. Dolittle 2 on Oct. 23, Shrek on Nov. 2, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Nov. 13, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Planet of the Apes Nov. 20, Pearl Harbor Dec. 4, Jurassic Park III and Rush Hour 2 Dec. 11 and Moulin RougeDec. 18.

Are we going to see more sales records broken? Likely. Are we going to get more releases touting phenomenal out-of-the-gate sales, as we already have from Disney and Universal? Again, likely.

But the real deal here is that Americans are turning into movie collectors ina way they never did with VHS. Habits are changing, and I sincerely believe years from now Hollywood will look back to the fourth quarter of 2001 as a pivotal moment in home entertainment.


Comments? Contact TK directly at:TKArnold@aol.com

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