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Buena Vista <I>Recruits</I> Strong Rentals and Sales

5 Jun, 2003 By: Melinda Saccone

A strong slate of new releases got the month off to a good start at the rental counter, while First Alert unit sales fell compared with the previous week.

While four new releases debuted in the top 10 First Alert DVD sellers chart for the week, it wasn't enough to push disc unit sales volume above last week. According to VideoScan First Alert data, unit sales of the top 20 DVD sellers were down 4.9 percent from the previous week.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment's The Recruit dominated the entertainment arena for the week ended June 1, taking top honors at both rental and in combined DVD and VHS unit sales, according to VideoScan First Alert data. The Recruit, priced for sellthrough on both VHS and DVD, landed a solid first place in disc sales and took the No. 5 spot in cassette sales.

The thriller was also consumers' rental of choice for the week, earning $11.53 million in its first five days on rental shelves.

Consumer spending at the rental counter registered $192.8 million, up 9.8 percent from the previous week and up 32.5 percent from the comparable week last year, when the only one new release to debut among the top 10 rentals was Warner Home Video's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

This year's top 10 saw a 3.8 percent gain in rental revenue from last year's counterparts, despite less box office punch.

The top 10 rentals for the week ended June 1 tallied 52.4 percent less in theaters than their 2002 counterparts.

While Harry Potter carried a good portion of last year's box office receipts at $314 million, when the wizard is taken out of the mix, last year's top performers at the rental counter for the week were still ahead by 27.7 percent.

So far this year, consumers have spent $3.98 billion on combined DVD and VHS rentals, up 2.9 percent from the $3.87 billion during the first 22 weeks of 2002.

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