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Franchise Properties Keep DVD Revenue Churning in Sales and Rentals

5 May, 2005 By: Judith McCourt

When Universal Studios Home Entertainment President Craig Kornblau proclaimed 2004 “the year of the franchise” in various year-end stories, he wasn't kidding.

Franchises continue to pay off handsomely. Studios know it, and supplier marketing programs are geared toward drafting off any momentum that might come from a new theatrical release or, in the case of TV DVD, the start of a new season.

This week's top sellers and renters charts are loaded with titles that have brand awareness.

Meet the Fockers, from Universal, not only shot to the top of the sales and rental charts after its April 19 release, but also elevated demand for Meet the Parents — particularly since Universal created a new special edition, released in December, to draft off the sequel's theatrical debut.

Home Media Research estimates that Meet the Fockers, has sold more than 6 million units since its release, primarily on DVD, while Meet the Parents — Special Edition has racked up respectable sales of more than a half million units, for combined consumer spending of more than $125 million since the video release of Meet the Fockers.

Strong sellthrough demand hasn't hurt rentals. Meet the Fockers has topped the rental chart for the past two weeks, pulling in an estimated $23.3 million.

Another top seller, Paramount Home Entertainment's Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, is the first DVD installment in the popular children's book franchise. In its first week of release, the film, which grossed $118.6 million in U.S. theaters, has sold more than 2.5 million units, according to Home Media Research estimates.

Also high on the sales and rental charts is New Line Home Entertainment's Blade: Trinity, the third film in a series of movies based on the Marvel Comics character. The gothic horror-action flick only grossed $52.4 million at the box office, but its appeal to the young male demographic — traditionally the most avid DVD buyers — helped it generate an estimated $29.9 million in DVD sales, more than it made in its opening week in theaters ($24.5 million).

Another sequel recently released on DVD, Warner Home Video's Ocean's Twelve, continues to be in high demand among both buyers and renters. The title has been in stores since April 12, and yet three weeks later it is still No. 7 on the VideoScan First Alert charts for the week ended May 1, and No. 4 on Home Media Retailing's rental charts for the same period.

As is the case with Meet the Fockers, the DVD debut of Ocean's Twelve spurred sales of Ocean's Eleven — even though Warner did not issue a spruced-up DVD. Ocean's Eleven has been in release for more than three years, and still finds a place on the top sellers' charts.

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