<I>A Beautiful Mind</I> Is A Beautiful Seller3 Jul, 2002 By: Melinda Saccone
Universal Studios Home Video was the big winner at the rental and sales counter thanks to A Beautiful Mind. The Academy Award winner for Best Picture snagged the No.1 spot for both DVDs and cassette sales according to Nielsen VideoScan First Alert data as well as taking home top honors at the rental counter.A Beautiful Mind, based on the life and works of John Forbes Nash Jr., debuted with $18.37 million in its first five days of release to make it the fourth highest debut of all time. Warner Home Video's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone heads the list with $19.12 million in its rental week debut. The only other new release to break into the top 10 rentals for the week was Universal's Gosford Park (No. 6, $7.42 million).Despite the hefty release schedule with five titles debuting in the top 50, spending at the rental counter dipped. Consumers spent $170.4 million on DVD and VHS rentals for the week ending June 30, down 3.1 percent from the previous week and 19.3 percent off the comparable week in 2001. Increased copy-depth resulting from more day and date releases at a sellthrough price point is driving rental action on the big hits, which in turn takes a toll on catalogue. In addition to universal availability of DVDs at day and date sellthrough pricing, more cassettes are being released at sellthrough. The recent trend by some suppliers such as Warner to forego rental pricing of the cassette version- in favor of sellthrough has further fueled the power of new releases. Rentailers have taken advantage of more of the trend toward sellthrough pricing to increase their copy-depth. On average, rentailers' stocked 52 percent more copies of the top five releases to debut so far this year, compared to the comparable five in 2001. Three of the top debuts this year were priced for sellthrough, compared to just one of the top five debuts during the comparable period in 2001.The top 50 rentals for the week ending June 30 outperformed their 2001 counterparts by 18.7 percent and accounted for a greater percentage of weekly spending. According Video Store Magazine market research, on average new releases now account for 72.9 percent of weekly rentals in Top 100 retailers' stores.So far this year consumers have spent $4.5 billion at the rental counter, down one percent from the $4.54 billion spent during the comparable period in 2001.