UPDATE: 'Grinch' Grabs Holiday Video Crown29 Nov, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold
Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas is the latest high-profile video release to set a sales record. Universal Studios Home Video this week reported that director Ron Howard’s live-action version of the classic children’s tale generated $145 million in consumer spending its first six days in stores, more than half what the movie grossed in its entire theatrical run.
“It was beyond our wildest expectations,” says Craig Kornblau, president of Universal Studios Home Video.While The Grinch sold 3 million DVDs, Kornblau notes it also moved about 5.5 million videocassettes, a testament to the continued strength of the VHS market.
Universal claims The Grinch is the biggest holiday video title of all time and scored the second-highest first-week sales tally of any live-action video release, after Titanic.
Sources estimate one million cassettes and 450,000 DVDs of The Grinch entered the rental channel. According to Video Store Magazine market research, The Grinch generated an estimated $13.8 million in rental revenue its first week in stores.
Kornblau says Universal’s chief marketing challenge was getting consumers to “reconnect” with The Grinch, since the film opened theatrically more than a year ago and got mixed reviews.
To that end, the studio launched a huge marketing campaign that peaked in the 10 days preceding the title’s Nov. 20 video release. Commercials fairly saturated prime-time television, with spots airing during such high-profile TV programs as “E.R.,” “Survivor” and “The West Wing.”
“We’re happy with it,” says Paul Ramaker, v.p. of movies and more for Wherehouse Entertainment, a chain of 416 audio-video combo stores based in Torrance, Calif.Ramaker says The Grinch is one of the holiday season’s five top video sellers so far at the Wherehouse, along with Shrek, Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace and two others he declined to name.
“It’s a great movie,” Ramaker says. “People were waiting for it. There had been demand from its theatrical release, and then Universal did an excellent job of marketing the title [prior to release].”