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UPDATE: <I>Nemo&#39;s</I> 8 Million-Unit Splash Sets Off Wave

6 Nov, 2003 By: Kurt Indvik

Finding Nemo, the little fish that was a whale of a box office hit this year, swallowed the record for opening-day sales of home video, with 8 million units sold in North America, it was announced by Buena Vista Home Entertainment (BVHE).

Finding Nemo swamped the previous first-day record of 5 million units set last year by Monsters, Inc., another Walt Disney Pictures presentation of a Pixar Animation Studios film.

Based on its first-day success, Finding Nemo is on track to become the best-selling home video of 2003 and the top-selling DVD of all time, BVHE executives said.

According to Bob Chapek, president of BVHE, some 25 million units were shipped into the retail channel, based on record preorders, and that's going to make copies of Nemo hard to find this weekend. DVDs constituted 80 percent of first-day sales, VHS 20 percent, he said.

“We knew it was going to do well, but what we saw happening throughout the day yesterday was something we never expected,” Chapek said. “In a word, it was frantic. The numbers we saw coming out of the East Coast in the morning were so phenomenal, we didn't think it could be sustained, but it was. We had reports of full pallets selling out before noon, and some stores did their week's projection in one day. We're obviously thrilled.”

Chapek said BVHE is working furiously with its duplication facilities to try to keep the pipeline filled as retailers call in with reorders. “We're going to do the best we can to keep people in stock, but we also expect there will be some areas that experience shortages of stock.”

In a call to announce Pixar's third-quarter earnings, Pixar executives said Finding Nemo sold another 2 million units its second day of release. Pixar chairman/CEO Steve Jobs said Disney expects to sell 25 million video units of Nemo in the first year compared to more than 19 million units of Monsters, Inc. sold-to-date. Jobs, who said Pixar is financially capable of financing and marketing its products independently, remains committed to striking a distribution deal with Disney by mid-2004.

Retailers are offering a plethora of incentives for consumers, according to Lori MacPherson, VP of brand marketing for BVHE. “The nice thing about Nemo is that it's such a broad title. We have activities for all demographics,” she said.

Disney Store customers who preordered the title were rewarded with a set of four limited-edition lithographs, while Toys ‘R' Us preorder customers received a free plush toy. Wal-Mart customers receive a bonus CD-ROM game packaged with the Nemo DVD, while Costco is offering a free on-pack Finding Nemo kids book. Target is giving savings on Orville Redenbacher popcorn with a purchase, and Kmart stores will offer free Coca-Cola with a Nemo purchase. Best Buy consumers will receive a free Nemo DVD/CD case, while their counterparts visiting Circuit City will get a Nemo-themed mouse pad. Sears is offering $5 off anything with the purchase of Nemo, and various grocers offer product giveaways with purchase.

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