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It's Universal: Family Titles Take Off on DVD and VHS

14 Dec, 2001 By: Judith McCourt


Family titles took off on DVD in November, spurred by winning performances of two green beings, Shrek and Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It marks the first time ever that family fare has finished first on both VHS and DVD at the sales counter. Almost one-third of all unit sales in November came from family fare, according to VideoScan data.

DreamWorks Home Entertainment's Shrek was top seller in November, racking up more sales on DVD, VHS and in combined units that any other release in November. The stellar performance was supported by Universal Studios Home Video's Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Together they handed Universal (which distributes DreamWorks product) a whopping 29.8 percent of the overall market share for the month.

Shrek has been a record breaker since its theatrical debut on May 16. In its first week in theaters the flick grossed $42.4 million according AC Nielsen EDI, making it the biggest-ever opening for DreamWorks. The film had earned $267.6 million as of Dec. 9, making it the top grossing film so far this year. With just weeks left in the year, Warner's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, with a tally standing at $239.7 million, will truly have to do some magic to take the 2001 lead from Shrek.

Shrek sold 1.6 copies for every copy of Universal's Grinch, which was No. 2 seller in November.

Grinch, also a theatrical blockbuster, was a solid second fiddle, finishing No.2 in VHS and combined unit sales and No.3 in DVD sales. The Grinch was No. 1 at the box office in 2000, grossing $260 million.

The two titles handed Universal the No. 1 VHS unit sales spot with 35.9 percent market share, more than twice the next closet finisher, Warner Home Video, which grabbed 14.1 percent of VHS unit sales in November. Universal also placed first on the DVD front, with 22.8 percent of unit sales. Warner again came in No. 2, claiming 19.4 percent of the DVD units sold in November.

With family fare in hot demand, the genre reigned king in both VHS and DVD formats for the first time ever. Family fare has grown in popularity in the DVD format all year as the prevalence of DVD players in U.S. households has expanded to an estimated 20 percent. The combined unit sales for family titles accounted for 32 percent of November sales for both formats, more than twice the sales for comedies, which finished second for the month, with 14.9 percent of total unit sales. On the VHS side, family titles made up 38.1 percent of the all cassettes sold while family DVD sales made up 25.1 percent of all discs sold in November. By comparison, for the first six months of 2001, the genre made up only 6.8 percent of all DVD units sold.


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