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'Batman Begins' Flies to Top of Charts

27 Oct, 2005 By: Thomas K. Arnold

The annual fourth-quarter home video derby is off and running. Warner Home Video's Batman Begins, which took in $205.3 million in theaters, is one of the early winners.

The brooding actioner scored big its first week out, shooting to the top of both Nielsen VideoScan's First Alert sales chart and Home Media Retailing's rental chart for the week ended Oct. 23.

With first-week sales pegged at nearly 4 million units, Batman Begins is the top-selling DVD so far this fourth quarter.

Sales were so strong for Batman Begins that it sold more units during the week than the rest of the top 20 DVD sellers combined.

George Romero's Land of the Dead, from Universal Studios Home Entertainment, finished a distant second, selling 13 percent as many copies as Batman Begins.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment's Cinderella held fast at No. 3, while the previous week's top seller, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment's Kingdom of Heaven, slid to No. 4. Cinderella is expected to remain a strong seller through the holiday season, fueled by a $150 million marketing push the studio has put behind the 55-year-old animated classic.

Bat-fever ran so hot in video stores that Warner's original Batman, newly issued as a handsome two-disc special edition, cracked the top sellers chart at No. 18. Debuting just two notches down, at No. 20: Warner's Batman: The Motion Picture Anthology 1989-1997, a four-movie pack retailing at a steep $79.92.

Several special-edition DVDs of older movies scored well on the sales front. Buena Vista's Tarzan debuted at No. 8, and The Emperor's New Groove bowed at No. 15; Universal's The Big Lebowski entered the chart at No. 16.

On Home Media Retailing's rental chart for the week ended Oct. 23, Batman Begins also scored an easy victory, generating an estimated $11.36 million in rental revenue for the week.

Kingdom of Heaven, however, remained a strong No. 2, earning an additional $9.06 million to bring its two-week take to $19.1 million, or more than 40 percent of its box office gross.

Land of the Dead debuted at No. 10 on the rental chart, one notch behind Fox's Fever Pitch, which after 40 days on the chart has generated an estimated $33.8 million in rental revenue, or more than 80 percent of its total theatrical gross.

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