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January Rentals Up Double Digits

15 Feb, 2002 By: Melinda Saccone

Universal Studios Home Video dominated at the rental counter in the first month of the year, generating nearly two-thirds of all consumer rentals thanks to strong January releases The Fast and the Furious and American Pie 2.

Universal captured an impressive 31.8 percent market share for a solid first-place finish. The studio owned four of the top 10 rentals for the month, including the No. 1 rental, The Fast and the Furious. Furious generated 62.8 percent more rentals than the runner-up, Buena Vista Home Entertainment's Scary Movie 2.

There were plenty of rental copies of Furious available in the marketplace as retailers stocked deep in anticipation of high rental demand. The actioner grossed $144.5 million at the box office prior to its video debut. Video Store Magazine market research estimates more than 1 million VHS units were in the rental pipeline while there were nearly 600,000 DVD units available for rent. At month's end, the actioner had earned $57.3 million in combined VHS and DVD rental revenue. Other Universal releases to break into the top 10 rentals chart were American Pie 2 (No. 3), Jurassic Park III (No. 9) and DreamWorks Home Entertainment's Evolution (No. 6).

Buena Vista Home Entertainment was a solid No. 2 in the market share sweepstakes, capturing 18.9 percent of all January rental transactions. Three of the studio's December releases, which had strong rental legs, earned a spot on the top 10 rentals chart for the month. Leading the pack was Scary Movie 2 (No. 2) which was released on Dec. 18. Other releases among the top rentals in January were The Princess Diaries (No. 7, released Dec. 18) and Pearl Harbor (No. 8, released Dec. 4).

Warner Home Video came in a distant third with an 11.5 percent market share. Rounding out the top five suppliers for January were Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment (No. 4, 11.2 percent) and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (No. 5, 10.9 percent).

Comedies were the genre of choice at the rental counter as 36.1 percent of all January rentals fell into the comedy category. Eleven of the top 25 rentals for the month were comedies. Leading the laugh lineup was Buena Vista's Scary Movie 2, which grossed $71.3 million at the box office prior to its video debut.

Actioners were next in line, earning 26.6 percent of all January rentals. Universal's The Fast and the Furious was the top rental in the genre. Dramas placed third with a 13.4 percent market share, while family titles (No. 4, 5.8 percent) and adventures (No. 5, 4.4 percent) rounded out the top five for the month.

Consumers spent a healthy $811.1 million at the rental counter in the first month of the year -- up 17.6 percent from the comparable four-week period in 2001. While most of the growth can be attributed to the burgeoning DVD format, VHS rentals also posted positive gains from the previous four-week period in 2001.

In January, consumers spent $186.6 million renting DVDs -- up 124.7 percent from the comparable period in 2001-- and $606.4 million renting VHS cassettes -- up 3 percent from the comparable four-week period.

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