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October Packs $1 Billion Box Office Punch

9 Sep, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold

FoxÆs X-Men: The Last Stand is among this year's blockbuster slate.

Studio executives are cautiously optimistic that the DVD industry's slump may be coming to an end, at least temporarily.

While the business has been slightly down for much of the year, a powerful slate of titles coming to DVD in the fourth quarter could send total consumer spending for the year back into positive territory, at least by a percentage point or two, executives say.

In any event, the quarter is certainly getting off to a good start. An analysis by Home Media Research finds October clicking in as a billion-dollar-plus month, in terms of the box office punch.

“It's the strongest October I can remember,” said one studio president. “Everyone's putting big titles into that month.”

Sixteen films grossed at least $1 million at the box office, making a combined $1.11 billion, are being released on DVD in October. That's compared to 17 films with combined theatrical grosses of $710 million in October 2005.

Five films are coming to video with theatrical earnings of more than $100 million; in October 2005, there was just one, Warner Home Video's Batman Begins, which took in $205.3 million.

This year's blockbuster slate includes 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment's X-Men: The Last Stand, with $234.3 million; Paramount Home Entertainment's Over the Hedge ($155 million); Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's Click ($136.5 million); Paramount's Mission: Impossible 3 ($133.4 million); and Universal Studios Home Entertainment's The Break-Up ($118.7 million).

The timing of releases also works so that every week in October has between two and four significant releases that complement rather than cannibalize one another.

The month gets going with the action hit X-Men: The Last Stand and the 20th Century Fox satire Thank You for Smoking ($24.8 million) on Oct. 3.

A week later, on Oct. 10, come the Adam Sandler comedy Click, the 20th Century Fox kiddie sequel Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties ($28.4 million), the Universal crime drama Waist Deep ($21.3 million) and the folksy A Prairie Home Companion ($20.1 million), from New Line Home Entertainment.

The DreamWorks Animation hit Over the Hedge shares Oct. 17 with the romantic comedy The Break-Up and 20th Century Fox's horror remake The Omen ($54.6 million).

The Paramount comedy Nacho Libre ($80.2 million) comes Oct. 24, along with Sony Pictures' animated Monster House ($70.9 million) and the Lionsgate horror flick An American Haunting ($16.3 million).

Only the final week in October belongs to just one film, Paramount's Mission: Impossible 3, coming on “Mission Monday,” Oct. 30.

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