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Rentals Up as Respite From War

3 Apr, 2003 By: Melinda Saccone


The last week of the first quarter drew lots of attention at the rental and sales counters, as consumers turned to home entertainment for some lighter fare, seeking relief from the play-by-play account of the war with Iraq.

Paramount Home Entertainment's Jackass: The Movie took top honors in both VHS and DVD sales for the week ended March 30, according to Nielsen VideoScan First Alert data. Jackass: The Movie outsold its next closest competitor, Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment's Maid in Manhattan, by a margin of 1.2-to-1 on disc.

New Line Home Entertainment's Friday After Next debuted at No. 3 in both VHS and DVD sales for the week.

At the rental counter, Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment's Maid in Manhattan, which was priced for rental on cassette, soared to the top of the rental chart for the week. In its first five days of release, the romance earned an impressive $18.7 million in rental revenue. Friday After Next debuted at No. 4, with $8.13 million.

Warner Home Video's Ghost Ship, which was released on Friday versus the traditional Tuesday, debuted at No. 7, earning $7.53 million in just three days of release. Also new from Warner was Femme Fatale (No. 9, $5.02 million).

Consumers spent $204.8 million at the rental counter for the week ended March 30, up a whopping 21.5 percent from the previous week and up 18.2 percent from the comparable week last year.

Disc rentals accounted for 54 percent of weekly rentals, registering $110.6 million, up 128 percent from the comparable week in 2002.

Cassette rentals registered $94.2 million for the week, down 24 percent from the comparable week in 2002.

So far this year, consumers have spent $2.55 billion on disc and cassette rentals, up 2.5 percent from the $2.49 billion spent in the first 13 weeks of 2002.

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