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'Batman v Superman' Conquers Home Video Sales

27 Jul, 2016 By: John Latchem

Batman v Superman

Warner's much-debated Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice fought its way to an easy No. 1 debut on the NPD VideoScan First Alert sales chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc chart the week ended July 24.

The superhero epic arrived in the home video market following a $330.4 million haul at the domestic box office, which would be considered huge by most standards but was labeled a disappointment by many pundits given the hype surrounding the film, which presented the first big-screen live-action meeting of iconic comic book characters Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot). Much of the pressure stemmed from the fact that the sequel to 2013's Man of Steel represented a significant effort from Warner to expand its DC Comics characters into a shared movie universe to compete with Disney's Marvel Studios. Warner has a Suicide Squad movie coming out in the next few weeks, with Wonder Woman and Justice League movies due next year, all stemming from BvS.

Upon its release, BvS was plagued by bad reviews that may have hampered audience enthusiasm for the film, but fans were generally more receptive of director Zack Snyder's efforts to create a sprawling conflict between the legendary characters. On RottenTomatoes.com, just 27% of critics recorded a positive review, compared with 65% of audience voters who liked the film.

To counter some of the backlash, almost immediately upon the BvS theatrical debut in March the studio touted that a three-hour extended cut of the film would eventually be released on home video. That version received much acclaim from fans and its existence seems to have driven some of the title's home video success. The extended cut is available only on the "Ultimate Edition" Blu-ray copies of the movie, not the standalone DVD version, and the first week of release for Batman v Superman saw 70% of its copies sold coming from the Blu-ray format — one of the highest first-week Blu-ray percentages ever for a major theatrical release new to disc (the record is the 83% put up by Star Wars: The Force Awakens earlier this year).

Dropping a spot to No. 2 in its second week was Lionsgate's The Divergent Series: Allegiant, which sold just 12% as many copies as BvS (and 8% as many Blu-ray copies). The film is the third in the franchise based on a series of young-adult sci-fi books, but its lackluster box office results have reportedly motivated the studio to turn the yet-to-be-made concluding fourth film into a TV movie, followed by a TV show.

Rounding out the top five for the week, each dropping a slot on the overall chart, were Sony Pictures' Miracles From Heaven at No. 3, Disney's Zootopia at No. 4 and DreamWorks Animation's Fox-distributed Kung Fu Panda 3 at No. 5. (On the Blu-ray chart, Zootopia was No. 3, Miracles From Heaven No. 4 and Kung Fu Panda 3 No. 5).

The only other new releases in the top 20 were the Lionsgate romantic comedy The Perfect Match at No. 9, and the actioner Kill Zone 2, from Well Go USA, at No. 10.

On Home Media Magazine's rental chart for the week, Universal's London Has Fallen rose a spot to take No. 1, pushing Allegiant to No. 2.

Universal's My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 came off its 28-day holdback from Redbox rental kiosks to move up to No. 3, while Miracles From Heaven and Kung Fu Panda 3 each dropped a slot to No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.

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