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<I>Red Dragon</I> Has Universal Appeal

10 Apr, 2003 By: Melinda Saccone

Universal Studios Home Video dominated the new-release slate for the week ended April 6. The studio had three debut releases in the top 50 charts for the week, including the top rental and DVD seller for the week.

Red Dragon bore top honors in both rental and disc sales. The thriller outsold its next-closest competitor on disc (Paramount Home Entertainment's Jackass: The Movie) by a margin of 1.9 to 1, according to VideoScan First Alert data. Red Dragon was priced for rental on cassette. Leading in VHS sales for the week was Paramount's The Wild Thornberrys Movie, the only new release to break into the top 20 First Alert VHS sellers for the week. It debuted at No. 8 in disc sales.

Dragon was consumers' rental of choice, earning $13.02 million in its first five days of release. Universal had the only other new release in the top 10 rentals chart for the week: Far From Heaven (No. 8, $5.36 million).

Meanwhile, consumer rental spending for the week registered $195.7 million, down 4.4 percent from the previous week but up 13.8 percent from the comparable week last year.

A Video Store Magazine market research survey conducted during the week of April 6 found 45 percent of retailers surveyed reported the war had some impact on rental trade.

Inventory size seemed to influence the impact. Retailers with less than 7,500 rental units in inventory were hit the hardest, with 65 percent of those reporting a war effect claiming a negative impact on business.

Retailers with more than 7,500 rental units in inventory were split. Of those reporting a war effect, half reported losses for the week and half reported gains.

If the war continues for another three months, retailers expect an up-tick in demand for home entertainment. Fifty-six percent of retailers surveyed think a prolonged war will affect the rental business. Nearly three-fourths (74 percent) of those think it will increase rental demand.

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