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'Pirates' Sells 11 Million in Week One

9 Dec, 2003 By: Kurt Indvik

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl sold an estimated 11 million units in North America in its first week on retail shelves, according to Buena Vista Home Entertainment (BVHE), making it the all-time first-week top seller for a live-action title.

“Obviously, we're thrilled to be coming out with a record breaking week with Pirates of the Caribbean right on the heels of Nemo,” said Bob Chapek, president of BVHE. “This has been a phenomenal year for the studio and a testament to our strength in turning these great movies into huge home entertainment success.”

Sales for Pirates were split 90 percent DVD, 10 percent VHS, Chapek said, and, in what he calls a new market dynamic this season, Buena Vista anticipates the percentage of DVD sales to actually rise higher in the coming weeks.

“While we historically see VHS increase after an initial launch of animated titles, on live action we actually are seeing the opposite,” Chapek said. “This may be partly a function of people continuing to anticipate giving DVDs for the holidays. It's a title that appeals to a very broad audience and that, also, contributes to this very high DVD percentage.”

Pirates is the year's second biggest domestic theatrical grossing film with $305 million, right behind Disney's own Pixar film Finding Nemo ($340 million), which last month set its own record as the all-time bestselling DVD, at 15 million in its first two weeks at retail.

Pirates was released Dec. 2 in a two-disc DVD set at $29.99, and on VHS at $24.99.

Disney has loaded up its late fourth quarter slate with a handful of major box office titles Finding Nemo, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Santa Clause 2 ($139 million box office) and Freaky Friday ($109 million box office), due Dec. 16, to go along with the Oct. 7 re-release of The Lion King.

“I am excited at the potential for this to be the biggest fourth quarter in industry history,” Chapek said.

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