HIVE EXCLUSIVE RESEARCH: Nothing Fragile About ‘Unbreakable’s’ Lead in a Strong July10 Aug, 2001 By: Judith McCourt
2001’s second half got off to a healthy start thanks to a solid stream of releases and a summer slate of titles with strong rental legs.
Buena Vista Home Entertainment’s Unbreakable was the undisputed champ at the rental counter in July, pulling in $68 million in rental revenues for the month. The rental power of the thriller was the jump start that Buena Vista needed to capture the No. 1 market share spot (based on total rental turns) for the first time this year.
Combined rental spending for the month came to $1.13 billion, up a solid 8.8% from the $1.03 billion spent in comparable five-week periodof 2000. VHS spending made a resurgence in July, with rental receipts registering $996.2 million, compared to $971.6 million in July 2000.July DVD rental receipts doubled to $129.4 million, up 105.8% from the $62.9 million doled out in the same month last year. DVD receipts accounted for 11.5% of July’s rental take, compared to6.1% in July 2000.
At the end of July consumers had spent $5.46 billion at the rental counter, up 7.7% from the $5.07 billion spent in the first seven months last year.
Periodic surveys of video retailers conducted by Video Store Magazinemarket research show that video retailers appear to be tightening their inventory on the big hits compared to last year.
A comparison of the top 25 titles from July 2001 to the top 25 renting titles from the same month last year shows buys are on the decline. On average, this year’s video retailers stocked 21.65 copies of the top renters, down 8.8% from the 23.74 copies of the top 25 renters from July 2000. Tighter rental supply pushed the turns per copy, a measure of profitability, of the month’s renters to 9.3 compared to 6.8 last year. This is happening despite the stronger, $1.6 billion boxoffice punch the top 25 rentals for 2001 packed, versus $1 billion forthe top 25 of July 2000.
Buena Vista Home Entertainment, which includes Touchstone, Miramax, Disney, Hollywood and Dimension, reigned as market share king for the month with 21.1% of the rental transactions in July and four of the top 25 rental spots for the month. Unbreakable (No. 1) joined O Brother, Where Art Thou? (No. 12), Dracula 2000 (No. 13) and Double Take (No. 17).
Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment releases scored a second place finish in the July market sweeps. Columbia garnered 20.8% of therental transactions for the month and five titles among the top 25 performers in July. Turning in the best performance for the month wasThe Wedding Planner (No. 3), starring Jennifer Lopez. Released just intime for the July 4 holiday, the teen-pleaser was in hot demand. By month’s end, the comedy had racked up a sizzling $35.7 million incombined VHS and DVD rental revenue. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon continued to show its strength at the rental counter, finishing fourth for the month despite its early June release.
Warner Home Video, the umbrella for Warner, New Line and HBO, dropped to the No. 3 spot in July with 16.7% of the rental turns for themonth and six titles on the Top 25. New Line’s Thirteen Days was Warner’s top July renter, finishing No. 7 on the list and grossing $26.7 million in rental revenue for the month.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment grabbed fourth place with 14.6% of July rental transactions thanks to the strong legs of itsrecent releases. Cast Away landed in the No. 2 spot for the month despiteits mid-June release. Also boosting Fox’s tally was Dude, Where’s MyCar? (No. 6), which hit the rental pipeline late June.