Universal's ‘Spy Game' Takes ‘Day' as Rentals Leap Again18 Apr, 2002 By: Melinda Saccone
New releases and the strong rental legs of March hits helped push weekly rental spending to its highest level so far this year.
Consumer spending at the rental counter registered $253.1 million for the week ended April 14 — up 5.4 percent from the previous week and up a startling 45.9 percent from the comparable period in 2000.
The week's top five rentals generated an impressive 72.2 percent more revenue at the rental counter than their 2000 counterparts, despite earning 21.8 percent less at the box office prior to their release on video.
Two new releases claimed spots among the top five rentals for the week. Universal Studios Home Video's Spy Game seized top billing from Warner Home Video's Training Day, which had held the spot since its release March 19. Spy Game earned $13.5 million in combined VHS and DVD rental revenue in its first five days of release, making it the fifth-biggest weekly video debut so far this year.
Training Day earned an additional $12.6 million for the week, bringing its cumulative rental take to $58.9 million in just four weeks of release. The title was the top VHS seller for the second consecutive week, according to VideoScan First Alert data, but dropped to No. 4 on the DVD sellers chart as Universal's Spy Game captured that No. 1 spot as well.
Buena Vista Home Entertainment's Serendipity debuted at No. 3 on the top rentals' chart, earning $11.6 million in its first five days of release. Retailers stocked deep on the $50.3 million box office romance, with Blockbuster guaranteeing the rental on both VHS and DVD.
Video Store Magazine market research estimates that, in Blockbuster stores, Hollywood stores, and independent stores with more than 10,000 units in rental inventory, nearly 40 percent of the available copies of Serendipity carried for rent were stocked in the DVD format.
Other new releases on the top rentals chart were Universal's Mulholland Drive (No.13, $3.33 million) and The Skulls II (No. 31, $940,000), Buena Vista's High Heels and Low Lifes (No. 40, $590,000) and MGM Home Entertainment's No Man's Land (No. 41, $560,000).
So far this year, consumers have spent $3.05 billion on VHS and DVD rentals — up 11.5 percent from the comparable period in 2000.