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Initial October Sales of Top 50 Titles Ahead of Last Year

30 Oct, 2003 By: Melinda Saccone

The fourth quarter is shaping up to be one of the biggest sellthrough seasons in video history. The box office strength of titles slated for release in the final quarter of the year registers more than $3 billion, or 3.2 percent more than last year's crop, according to Video Store Magazine market research. This year's fourth-quarter crop also includes more $100 million-plus box office hits, 14 versus last year's 11.

Unit sales of the top 50 sellers are already well ahead of last year, according to VideoScan data. In the first three weeks of October, combined DVD and VHS sales of the top 50 releases were up 44 percent from their 2002 counterparts.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment's The Lion King Special Edition is leading the fourth-quarter lineup so far, perhaps not surprisingly considering the title's historic VHS success. The remastered and features-laden double-disc set sold 5.7 million units in its first two weeks of release, according to Video Store Magazine market research estimates.

Trailing in a very close second -- even though it was released a week later -- was Warner Home Video's hotly anticipated sequel The Matrix Reloaded. Video Store Magazine market research estimates Reloaded sold 5.1 million DVDs through to consumers in its first week of release.

Meanwhile, consumers spent $144.3 million at the rental counter for the week ended Oct. 26, down 0.8 percent from the previous week, but up 4.2 percent from the comparable period last year.

Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment's Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle was consumers' top rental pick for the week. Full Throttle earned $13.4 million in just its first five days on rental shelves.

Fox Home Entertainment's 28 Days Later grabbed a third-place finish for the week, earning $11 million in its first five days of release.

Year-to-date rental spending stands at $8.1 billion, up 12 percent from the $7.2 billion spent during the comparable period last year.

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