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Holiday Week Offers Rental Boost, But Not Enough to Beat 2003

8 Jul, 2004 By: Melinda Saccone

Holiday traffic gave rentailers a little something to smile about as many consumers found their way into video stores over the recent holiday weekend despite the lure of the box office. Still, weekly rentals lagged behind last year — a declining-rentals trend that has now stretched into the second half of the year.

Consumers spent $156.5 million at the rental counter for the week ended July 4 — up 4.6 percent from the previous week. However, rental spending was off more than 20 percent from spending during the comparable week in 2003 even though there was a better new release slate this year.

The box-office strength of the top 50 rentals was up 30 percent from 2003 counterparts. Competition from new and used disc sales coupled with consumer spending in theaters for the week continued to push rental revenue further in the red. Rentals so far this year are down 13.6 percent.

Hefty competition from the box office during the holiday week has historically hampered rental demand. This year, competition was at its fiercest, thanks to the record-breaking success of Columbia Pictures' Spider-Man 2, which earned $180.1 million in its first week in theaters.

Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment's Secret Window remained consumers' top pick at the rental counter for the second week running, earning an additional $13.3 million.

MGM Home Entertainment's Barbershop 2: Back in Business led the newbies for the week debuting in the No. 3 spot with $12.2 million. The Barbershop sequel also fared well at the sales counter, finishing No. 2 for the week according to Nielsen VideoScan First Alert data.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment's Cold Mountain debuted at No. 4 on the rental chart, earning $11 million in rental revenue in its first week of release and, according to Nielsen VideoScan First Alert data, was the top seller for the week on both DVD and VHS. Paramount Home Entertainment's The Perfect Score debuted at No. 7 on the rental chart, earning $4.1 million in its first week on rental shelves.

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