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Post-Holiday Rentals Dip

17 Jul, 2003 By: Melinda Saccone

Consumer spending at the rental counter took a predictable post-holiday tumble for the week ended July 13. A light slate of new releases aimed at an older demographic and competition from the box office failed to keep rental spending on parity with the previous week's levels.

Rental spending for the week ended July 13 dipped 3.2 percent below the previous week, to $197.4 million, but was up 16.7 percent from the comparable week in 2002. The week's top 50 rentals were a much stronger lot than their 2002 counterparts. The top 50 rentals for the week ended July 13 generated 12 percent more revenue at the rental counter than their 2002 counterparts.

DVD rentals continue to climb as a percentage of the weekly take. Disc rentals accounted for 54 percent of the weekly total, compared with 41 percent during the comparable period last year.

Fueling competition in the entertainment mix was Buena Vista Home Entertainment's Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, which was the only new theatrical release with family appeal. Pirates, which debuted in theaters on a Wednesday, earned $70.6 million in its first five days in theaters. It earned $46.6 million over the weekend, making it the seventh- highest weekend opening this year.

Fox Home Entertainment's Phone Booth snagged the No.1 rental spot and also topped the list of DVD sellers, according to Nielsen VideoScan First Alert data.

Paramount Home Entertainment's How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days remained the No. 1 cassette seller the week ended July 13, according to the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert report.

A light slate of new releases bore only two debutantes on the top 50 rentals chart for the week; however, they were consumers' first and second rentals of choice for the week. While No. 1 rental Phone Booth earned $11.58 million in its first five days on rental shelves, Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment's Basic came in a close second, earning $11.34 million in its first five days of release.

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