TK's MORNING BUZZ: The Breakthrough Sellthrough Success of 'The Mummy Returns' and 'Snow White' DVDs Is Another Turning Point in the Life Cycle of VHS15 Oct, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold
The power of DVD really hit home last week, as two studios issued press releases touting out-of-the-gate sales of their heavyweight fourth-quarter "starters." Universal Studios Home Video announced The Mummy Returns had sold 2 million copies its first week in stores; a day later, Disney sent its own press release, stating that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs had sold 1 million unit its first day of release.
Bragging rights are nothing new. I remember when Fox and Disney squared off over shipments of rental-priced cassettes, with Disney reporting a huge number -- in excess of 725,000 cassettes, I believe -- of Pulp Fiction after Fox fired the first salvo for a title I can't even recall (was it one of the Die Hards?).
Then, of course, there was the famous sellthrough battle of '94, with Universal and Jurassic Park vying with Disney and Snow White for Top Hit honors of the holiday sellthrough season. I seem to recall Snow White squeaking by, while Jurassic Park triggered a huge investigation into street date violations that ultimately overshadowed either film's sales tally.
The interesting thing about the latest batch of dueling press releases is that DVD is clearly in the spotlight. No one seems to care about the poor VHS cassette anymore.
This point is driven home at retail, with veteran rentailers like Dave Stevenson saying they're soon going to switch to all-DVD and big chains like Blockbuster shifting advertising pitches from guaranteed availability of rental hits on cassette to "Blockbuster is the place to go for DVD."
Add to that the fact that Best Buy, one of the biggest sellers of movie software in the country, is now at 75% DVD and the writing's clearly on the wall -- VHS is on the cusp of its last hurrah.
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