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<I>Finding Nemo</I> Reels in Sales; <I>Terminator 3</I> Tops Rentals

21 Nov, 2003 By: Melinda Saccone

Finding Nemo was the big fish at the sales counter, while Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines shot to the top at rental.

According to Nielsen First Alert data, Finding Nemo was the No. 1 overall seller for the week ended Nov. 16. Buena Vista Home Entertainment touts sales to consumers of 15 million DVD units in North America for the fish's first 14 days of sales.

Video Store Magazine market research shows that cumulative DVD sales of the top 50 releases so far in the fourth quarter are tracking 31 percent ahead of the comparable period last year. While part of the increase can be attributed to rising DVD household penetration, the Q4 product-release slate also lends itself to consumer ownership.

While sales were up, rental spending was down. For the week ended Nov. 16, consumers spent $128.7 million at the rental counter, down 2 percent from the previous week, and down 16.4 percent from the comparable period in 2002.

Some of the biggest theatrical hits of the year are in the rental pipeline, but they are also some of the most collectable. Buena Vista's Finding Nemo, and Warner Home Video's The Matrix Reloaded and Terminator 3 all appeal to buyers, which has dampened their rental performance.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, which earned $149.4 million in theaters, was the top rental for the week. T3 earned $14.8 million in its debut week on rental shelves, nearly triple the first-week rental revenue of its predecessor T2 ($5.2 million), a 1991 video release.

Rentailers stocked deep on T3 knowing they have a secondary source of revenue with previously viewed title sales once rental demand begins to lag. Rentailers brought nearly 2 million units into the rental pipeline, according to Video Store Magazine market research estimates.

So far this year, consumers have spent $8.47 billion on rentals, up 10.2 percent from the same 46-week period last year.

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