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Universal&#39;s <I>Bourne Identity</I> Sets First-Week Rental Record

30 Jan, 2003 By: Judith McCourt

Universal Studios Home Video's The Bourne Identity grossed a record $22.76 million at the rental counter in its first five days of release, making it the largest first-week rental debut on record, unseating Warner Home Video's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone ($19.1 million).

Video Store Magazine market research estimates 1.6 million units of the title were in the rental pipeline and almost 60 percent of those units were DVDs.

Thanks to this record setter and other favorable trends, the home entertainment industry is off to a good start for 2003, with video sales and rentals turning in better performances than in the initial weeks last year. New holiday-gifted hardware, bone-chilling temperatures in many parts of the country, and a hot release schedule also lifted spending.

Sales, based on the combined performance of the top 100 sellers, according to Nielsen VideoScan data, continue to outpace the top 100 sellers of a year ago. Year-to-date top 100 unit sales through the week ended Jan. 18 are 22 percent ahead of 2002 tallies. Top 100 disc sales for the first three weeks of the year were 33.5 percent ahead of the comparable 2002 unit tally, while top 100 VHS sales registered a 16.1 percent decline.

According to Nielsen First Alert data, which captures point of sales from a selected group of retailers, The Bourne Identity was the top DVD seller for the week ended Jan. 26. Kids ruled on VHS, with Buena Vista Home Entertainment's 101 Dalmatians II -- Patch's London Adventure direct-to-video release the top-selling cassette for the week.

On the rental side, consumers spent a whopping $225.5 million renting videos for the week ended Jan. 26, a 22.1 percent increase from the comparable week in 2002. Weekly video rental spending is almost evenly divided between disc and cassette rentals, with cassettes capturing 50.2 percent of the take.

For the first four weeks of 2003, consumers spent $849.68 million on rentals, up 4.8 percent from the $811.15 million spent in the same four-week period of 2002.

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