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Fourth Season of 'Game of Thrones' Tops Disc Sales

25 Feb, 2015 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Game of Thrones: The Complete Fourth Season

HBO’s eagerly awaited fourth-season set of hot TV series “Game of Thrones” debuted at No. 1 on both national home video sales charts the week ended Feb. 22 — a banner week for new releases in which the top five sellers were all newcomers.

Bowing at No. 2 on both the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks overall DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and Nielsen’s dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart was Universal Pictures’ Dumb and Dumber To, the belated sequel to the 1994 slapstick classic that reunites original stars Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels and earned a respectable $86.2 million in U.S. theaters.

Sony Pictures’ controversial The Interview debuted at No. 3 on both charts, a ranking observers surmise might have been higher had the film not been available earlier via streaming (it became available on Netflix Jan. 24) and online purchase. The comedy, about two journalists told to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un after getting an interview with him, triggered a massive cyberattack against Sony Pictures and threats against the major theater chains scheduled to show the film. That prompted Sony to cancel the theatrical release, only to later screen The Interview in a limited number of independent movie houses after making it available online.

Anchor Bay’s St. Vincent, a feel-good comedy with Bill Murray as a misanthropic war vet who befriends a young boy whose parents have split up, debuted at No. 4 on First Alert and No. 7 on the Blu-ray Disc chart, where the No. 4 spot went to Walt Disney’s 101 Dalmatians, the 1961 animated classic that recently made its Blu-ray Disc debut.

Rounding out the top five on both charts was Birdman, the 20th Century Fox release about a has-been movie star (Michael Keaton), famous for his portrayal of the superhero Birdman, as he struggles to stage a Broadway show. The film was released on disc five days before the annual Academy Awards ceremony, at which Birdman picked up Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography honors.

A sixth new release, The Theory of Everything, a biopic of physicist Stephen Hawking, debuted at No. 8 on First Alert and No. 9 on the Blu-ray Disc chart.

Nielsen data shows that “Game of Thrones” generated 54% of its first-week sales from Blu-ray Disc, while Dumb and Dumber To and The Interview each generated 41%. Blu-ray was responsible for 28% of St. Vincent unit sales but 53% of Birdman's.

On Home Media Magazine’s rental chart for the week, Universal Pictures’ Lucy shot up to No. 1 now that its 28-day holdback from top rental outlets Netflix and Redbox is over.

St. Vincent debuted at No. 2.

Fox’s Gone Girl, the previous week’s top rental, slipped to No.3, followed by Lionsgate’s John Wick at No. 4.

Universal Pictures’ The Boxtrolls shot up to No. 5 now that it, too, is available at all rental outlets.

The Interview, already available on Netflix for nearly a month, could muster only a No. 10 debut on the rental chart.

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