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Box Office vs. Video Box

14 Jun, 2002 By: Melinda Saccone

Consumer spending at the rental counter in May totaled $577.8 million, a drop of 7.7 percent from the comparable period in 2001.

Historically, the four-week period has not been one of the strongest months of the year at the rental counter, as consumers weigh choices between viewing the newest crop of summer offerings on the big screen and the new product releases on video.

This year was no exception. Sony's Spider-Man, which opened May 3 and earned $114.8 million in its opening four-day run weekend, and 20th Century Fox's Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones, which opened May 16 and made $110.2 in its weekend debut, were strong competition for video releases. Collectively, these two movies generated 62 percent of the $863.1 million consumers spent in theaters during the four-week period.

However, DVD rentals continued to post positive gains for May as consumers adopted the format. Consumer spending on DVD rentals registered $216.4 million, accounting for 37.5 percent of total monthly rental spending. DVD rentals increased 200.6 percent over the comparable four-week period last year.

While DVD continues to register solid gains, VHS rental receipts are in decline.

In May, consumer spending on cassette rentals dipped to $361.4 million, a 34.8 percent decrease from the same period last year. Cassette rentals accounted for 62.5 percent of the monthly tally, compared to 88.5 percent during the same four-week period in 2001.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment had a stellar month at the rental counter, taking top honors in the market share sweeps. Fox releases accounted for 21.1 percent of all May rentals, knocking Universal Studios Home Entertainment out of first place, a position the studio has held for four months.

Fox, the market share leader, had four titles break rank on the top 25 rentals' chart for the month. The quartet of films accounted for 18.6 percent of all monthly transactions. Behind Enemy Lines led the way for Fox, snagging the No. 2 spot for top revenue generators for the month. The drama earned $58.9 million in theaters prior to its video debut April 23. The only May release for Fox to find a spot on the chart was From Hell (No. 6). Other Fox releases that placed in the top 25 were Black Knight (No. 9) and The Deep End (No. 22).

Buena Vista Home Entertainment and Warner Home Video tied for second place, each grabbing 15.9 percent of all May rental transactions. While both studios had four releases on the top 25 rentals' chart, Warner had the top rental for May. Priced for sellthrough, Ocean's Eleven was consumers' rental of choice for the month. The Others was Buena Vista's top performer for May and finished at No. 5.

Rounding out the top five suppliers for the month were Columbia TriStar (No. 4), with 15.4 percent market share, and Universal (No. 5), with 11.5 percent.

Dramas were the order for the month, with 36.5 percent of all May rental transactions falling into the genre. Warner's Ocean's Eleven was the top-renting drama.

Comedies fell into the No. 2 spot, with 24.1 percent of all May transactions. Columbia TriStar's Not Another Teen Movie was the laugh-grabber of choice.

The suspense genre landed in the No. 3 spot, with a 15.9 percent market share. Actioners and horror flicks rounded out the top five genres for the month, with 8.1 percent and 4.8 percent market share, respectively.

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