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‘Rio’ Dances to Top of Charts

10 Aug, 2011 By: Thomas K. Arnold


It wasn’t even close. The animated family feature Rio, from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, swept the national home video sales charts its first week in stores, outselling its nearest competitor, Sony Pictures’ Soul Surfer, by a margin of more than 5 to 1.

Of course, comparisons aren’t really fair, since Rio grossed nearly $143 million in U.S. theaters, while Soul Surfer — based on the true story of a young surfer girl who gathers the courage to go back into the ocean after losing her arm in a savage shark attack — took in just $43.9 million.

But the success of Rio, released with a bold marketing campaign (buyers of the Blu-ray Disc version got a code that opens 15 new levels to the popular Angry Birds game, which has been downloaded more than 50 million times in the United States), certainly had home video executives sighing with relief after a mid-year report from DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group showed that disc sales as of June 30 were off about 17% from the first six months of 2010.

Rio and Soul Surfer posted a No. 1 and No. 2 finish on both the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert sales chart, which tracks overall disc sales, and Nielsen’s dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart. On Blu-ray Disc, Rio outsold Soul Surfer by a margin of more than 8 to 1.

Soul Surfer did emerge as the week’s top rental, according to Home Media Magazine’s weekly rental chart, but only because Rio won’t be available at Netflix or Redbox for another month, or 28 days after its release date.

Rio generated 33% of its first-week sales from Blu-ray Disc, a high percentage for a family film, while Soul Surfer generated 21% of its sales from the high-definition disc.