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Original 'Despicable Me' Surges to No. 1

10 Jul, 2013 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Despicable Me

Pin a gold marketing star on the team at Universal Studios Home Entertainment. It’s common for disc sales of a certain film to get a lift when the sequel hits theaters, but it’s extremely rare for the disc to shoot straight to the top of the national sales charts.

But that’s precisely what happened in the wake of the Fourth of July weekend opening of Despicable Me 2, which grossed $142 million its first five days on the big screen. The original Despicable Me that week shot into the No. 1 spot on both national sales charts, capping a week of high-powered retail promotions for a title that was initially released on Blu-ray Disc and DVD back in December 2010.

Granted, there was a lull of major new releases in the week shorted by the July 4 holiday. But credit must go to Universal Studios for working with retailers to aggressively re-promote the title, even adding UltraViolet to the combo packs.

On the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert sales chart for the week ended July 7, Despicable Me bumped Sony Pictures’ The Call from the No. 1 spot. Walt Disney’s Oz the Great and Powerful and Warner’s Jack the Giant Slayer finished at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, with unit sales of 58.4% and 58.3%, respectively, of Despicable Me, which like its theatrical sequel features the vocal talents of Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig, among others. The Call slipped to No. 4, selling just 51.6% as many units as Despicable Me.

Nielsen’s dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales charts tell a similar story, although The Call slid from No. 3 to No. 7. The Halle Berry crime thriller, about a 911 dispatcher seeking to save the life of a kidnapped teenage girl, didn’t do well on Blu-ray Disc, generating just 22% of its total second-week unit sales from the high-definition format — down from 26% in week one.

In rental stores, Universal Studios’ Identity Thief was most in demand, slotting at No. 1 on Home Media Magazine’s weekly rental chart now that it’s widely available for rent. The film came out a month ago but was held back from Netflix and Redbox for 28 days; in the prior week, with only limited rental availability, the film barely cracked the rental chart’s top 100, finishing at No. 97.

Another newly available rental title, A Good Day to Die Hard, from 20th Century Fox, shot to No. 2 from No. 80 the prior week.

Sony Pictures’ The Call finished the week at No. 3, down from No. 1 the prior week.

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