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Week's Rentals Up, But Not Too Much

7 Mar, 2002 By: Melinda Saccone

U.S. consumer spending for the week ending March 3 rebounded from the previous week, but fell short of last year's comparable-week tally despite a strong slate of new releases.

Consumer spending on VHS and DVD rentals came to $190.9 million for the week -- up 10.5 percent from the previous week, but down 3.4 percent from the comparable week in 2001. Weekly rental spending dipped for the third consecutive week despite nine new releases on the top 50 rentals chart.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment's Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, which earned $30.1 million at the box office, was the top new release rental for the week, debuting in third place. In its first five days of release, the comedy racked up $8.6 million in combined VHS and DVD rental revenue.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment's thriller Don't Say a Word remained consumers' top rental choice for the second consecutive week, earning an additional $13.86 million. In just two weeks of release, the Michael Douglas starrer has grossed $29.6 million in VHS and DVD rental revenue.

Year-to-date spending on VHS and DVD rentals remained above comparable spending in 2001. So far this year, consumers have spent $1.67 billion in combined VHS and DVD rental revenue -- up 5.5 percent from the $1.58 billion spent by this time in 2001, thanks to a slate of hard-hitting January releases.

Consumer spending on DVD rentals has grown 107.2 percent from last year, registering $385.7 million through the week ending March 3. By comparison, consumers had spent just $186.1 million at this same time in 2001. The DVD format now accounts for 23.2 percent of rental spending.

VHS rentals continue to decline. Through the week ending March 3, consumers had spent $1.28 billion renting the format, down 8.1 percent from the $1.39 billion spent at this time in 2001. VHS rentals now account for 76.8 percent of total revenue compared to 88.2 percent in 2001.

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