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'Dragon 2' Reigns During Post-Thanksgiving Sales Period

3 Dec, 2014 By: Thomas K. Arnold

How to Train Your Dragon 2

As usual, Black Friday and the long Thanksgiving weekend threw a wrench into the home video sales charts, which normally are dominated by new releases.

Instead, deep discounting of recent hits by big retail chains such as Walmart, Target and Best Buy led to a buying surge in which the handful of new releases that arrived in stores Nov. 25 literally got lost in the shuffle.

Only two newly released theatricals, both from Lionsgate, even made the top 20 the week ended Nov. 30. The Expendables 3, with a domestic box office take of $39.3 million, debuted at No. 4 on the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks overall Blu-ray Disc and DVD combined unit sales. And A Madea Christmas, which earned $52.5 million on the big screen during the 2013 holiday season, bowed at No. 13.

The Expendables 3 finished two notches below Warner’s The Lego Movie, which was released half a year ago but shot back up the charts due to its widespread availability for less than $4 on standard DVD and $7 on Blu-ray Disc. Even the premium Everything Is Awesome edition Blu-ray, with a Vitruvius minifigure, was selling for $9 at Target.

This year saw retailers blow out even current hits for less than $10, including DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon 2, which remained at the top of the sales charts for the third consecutive week, and Walt Disney’s Maleficent, which moved back up to No. 3 from No. 4.

Among the older titles that shot back up the chart, due to rampant deep discounting: Lionsgate’s Divergent, which finished the week at No. 6 more than four months after it was released; Universal Studios’ Despicable Me 2, which landed at No. 8 nearly a year after it came out; and 20th Century Fox’s Rio, which re-entered the First Alert chart at No. 10 more than three years after its initial August 2011 disc release. The animated comedy was widely available for less than $2 on standard DVD — which according to Nielsen research accounted for 80% of total unit sales during the week.

Others that reappeared on the chart include Warner’s Gravity (No. 12) and Magic Mike (No. 19), Paramount’s The Wolf of Wall Street (No. 15) and 20th Century Fox’s Ice Age: Continental Drift (No. 18).

On Home Media Magazine’s rental chart for the week, which was not affected by Black Friday madness, Sony Pictures’ 22 Jump Street remained at No. 1 for the second consecutive week. The Expendables 3 debuted at No. 2, Anchor Bay’s The Giver bowed at No. 3 and A Madea Christmas debuted at No. 4.

Notably, The Giver earned more than $45 million in theaters, but amid the Black Friday discount derby failed to place on the First Alert top 50.

Rounding out the week’s top five rentals was Maleficent, down from No. 3 the previous week.

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