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Week Before Christmas Hits High Rental Mark

4 Jan, 2002 By: Melinda Saccone

Three new releases helped push weekly U.S. consumer rental spending to an all-time high for the week ending Dec. 23. Consumers spent an impressive $273.2 million on VHS and DVD rentals for the week—up 16.7 percent from the previous week and up 5.2 percent from the comparable week in 2000.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment's Scary Movie 2 led the newbies as the No. 1 rental, earning $15.06 million in combined VHS and DVD revenue in its first five days of release.

Buena Vista also released The Princess Diaries at a sellthrough price on both VHS and DVD just in time for Christmas. Diaries grossed $104.7 million in theaters prior to its video debut. In its first five days of video release, the title earned $9.26 million in rental revenue for a fifth place finish.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment's Moulin Rouge was the only other new release on the top 50 rentals chart. Moulin Rouge earned $11.2 million in its first week of release for a third place finish. The Nicole Kidman starrer grossed $56.6 million in theaters before debuting on video.

Also contributing to this week's stellar performance are three titles released Dec. 11 that are still packing a solid punch.

New Line Home Entertainment's Rush Hour 2 (sellthrough priced on both VHS and DVD) earned an additional $13 million for the week. In just two weeks of release the title has earned $27.8 million at the rental counter. Universal Studios Home Video's Jurassic Park III earned an additional $9.23 million, giving it a cumulative $18.9 million in rental revenue. And Paramount Home Entertainment's The Score grossed an additional $6.89 million in its second week of release.

For the full year through Dec. 23, 2001, consumers spent $9.78 billion in combined VHS and DVD rentals with DVD rentals accounting for nearly 15 percent of total spending.

A strong release schedule in late December has tightened the market share race for 2001. New releases and holiday rental spending will sort out the top contenders, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, Universal Studios Home Video and Warner Home Video in the tight race for the four top slots. Video Store Magazine will publish final yearend market share results next week.

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