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TV Surges, But Not Enough to Boost Sales

16 Jun, 2005 By: Judith McCourt

Several newly released TV DVD packages exploded on the sales charts, but the lift wasn't enough to pick up the slack of a weak slate of theatricals.

DVD unit sales for the week ended June 4 (the latest week of complete data) were down nearly 40 percent from the previous seven-day period, according to Nielsen VideoScan data. Meanwhile, rental revenue for the week ended June 12 finished at an estimated $132.5 million, down 5.9 percent from the previous week, according to Home Media Research.

Shoring up the business, at least on the sales end: the continued strength of Paramount Home Entertainment's Chappelle's Show: Season Two – Uncensored and the arrival on DVD of the long-anticipated The Sopranos: The Complete Fifth Season from HBO Home Video.

Chappelle remained atop VideoScan's complete DVD sales chart (week ended June 4) for the second consecutive week and only slipped to No. 2 on the preliminary First Alert sales chart for the week ended June 12.

Sopranos finished at No. 3 on First Alert, a strong showing that suggests HBO's decision to deviate from a fourth-quarter release was wise. Home Media Research estimates first-week sales are on a par with those of season three, the top first-week seller in the series so far.

Released just in time for Father's Day, the Sopranos set stands to hold up well in the next few weeks and is perfectly positioned to get a renewed push in the fourth quarter for the holiday gift-giving season.

Overall, five of the top 25 sellers for the week were TV DVD sets. Even Chappelle's Show: Season One – Uncensored was ranked at No. 21, 67 weeks after its release and underscoring the evergreen nature of TV DVD.

Among newly released TV DVD packages, Warner Home Video's season-three package of “The Dukes of Hazzard” debuted at No. 24 and is poised to climb higher, given the buzz surrounding the theatrical remake, which is scheduled to hit the big screen Aug. 5.

Elsewhere on the charts, MGM Home Entertainment's Be Cool ($55.8 million at the domestic box office), snagged the top spot on the preliminary sales chart for the week ended June 12. The Get Shorty sequel bumped Chappelle from the No. 1 position it has held since its May 24 release.

Be Cool also topped the rental charts for the week ended June 12, with an estimated $8.26 million, or nearly 15 percent of its total box office take. Also new was Lions Gate Home Entertainment's critically hailed Beyond the Sea (No. 7 on the rental chart), starring Kevin Spacey.

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