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December Brings Lots of DVD Booty

25 Nov, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Black Friday is behind us, and most of the big summer theatrical films are now out on DVD. And yet, the four weeks that remain in this holiday season still are crowded with significant theatrical features that are being released on DVD late in the season in the hopes of attracting the impulse buyer.

Indeed, the collective box office strength of films coming to DVD in December is a whopping $1.35 billion, compared to $864.5 million for theatrical features that came to DVD in December 2005.

Take out post-Christmas releases, and the collective worth of titles available to last-minute holiday shoppers this December is $1.22 billion, compared to $811.8 million last year.

The biggest title still to come is Buena Vista Home Entertainment's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, the year's No. 1 movie, with box office earnings of $422.1 million. The sequel arrives on DVD Dec. 5, in the same time frame as the hugely successful original back in 2003. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl sold 11 million videos its first week in stores.

Will Dead Man's Chest be the year's top-selling DVD? The one to beat is another Disney title, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which came out in April and sold nearly 12 million units, a record for any DVD release this year.

The day before Thanksgiving, nearly two weeks before its street date, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest was No. 1 on Amazon.com's list of the top-selling DVDs, based solely on advance orders.

The “Pirates” sequel shares its Dec. 5 street date with Universal Studios Home Entertainment's Miami Vice, which grossed $63.4 million in theaters.

The following week, on Dec. 12, come four significant theatricals, topped by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, with a theatrical take of $148.2 million.

Also out that day: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment's The Devil Wears Prada ($124.7 million) and two Paramount Home Entertainment titles, Barnyard ($72.6 million) and Oliver Stone's World Trade Center ($70.2 million).

On Dec. 19, the final Tuesday before Christmas, arrives Buena Vista's Step Up ($65.3 million), 20th Century Fox's Little Miss Sunshine ($58.8 million), Buena Vista's Invincible ($57.8 million) and Warner Home Video's Lady in the Water ($42.3 million).

Leading up to Thanksgiving, Sony cracked the top of the national DVD sales and rental charts the week ended Nov. 19 with The Da Vinci Code. The film, with a domestic box office gross of $217.5 million, bumped Buena Vista's Cars from the top spot on Nielsen VideoScan's First Alert sales chart and Paramount's Mission: Impossible III from the top spot on Home Media Retailing's rental chart its first week in stores. The Da Vinci Code earned an estimated $11 million in rental revenue.

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