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DVD's Box Office Punch Still Packs a Wallop

23 Nov, 2005 By: Judith McCourt

Box office earnings are down significantly for the year, but the collective theatrical strength of this year's DVD releases isn't off nearly as much.

Box office revenues as of Nov. 20 are down 6.1 percent, while theatrical earnings of this year's DVD slate are only 2.3 percent shy of the box office punch delivered by last year's offerings — weighing in at $9.16 billion.

Warner Home Video, Paramount Home Entertainment and Lions Gate Home Entertainment all produced video slates with higher box office earnings than they did last year.

All other major suppliers fell short.

Paramount will finish the year with DVDs that pulled in $782.5 million at the box office, up 54.3 percent from last year.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, by contrast, released DVDs with collective theatrical earnings of $1.27 billion, off 29.8 percent from the studio's 2004 slate, which included Spider-Man 2.

By the end of this year, Sony will have pumped 90 releases into the market, more than any other supplier. Sony has a history of aggressively releasing independent films on DVD under the Sony Classics label.

Warner, with its distributed New Line Home Entertainment label, led all other studios in the box office clout of its DVD releases this year.

A total of 46 Warner and New Line titles came to DVD after earning $2.1 billion in theaters. New Line titles accounted for $361.3 million of that total.

Warner's fourth-quarter DVD release slate is a star-studded offering that will cement its market share dominance in 2005. Warner kicked off the quarter with the Oct. 18 release of Batman Begins, which pulled in $205.3 million on the big screen.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, released Nov. 8, is the supplier's top theatrical to bow on DVD this year, with a $206.4 million theatrical gross. The Polar Express ($162.8 million), released Nov. 22, added to the stellar lineup for the holiday season.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment's 2005 DVD slate grossed $1.44 billion theatrically, down 5.5 percent from 2004. The number of releases from Buena Vista tumbled from 51 to 31, a 39 percent decline, mostly due to a falloff in Miramax titles. In 2004, the Miramax arm released 28 titles that had played on the big screen. This year, Miramax released just 11 titles under the Buena Vista umbrella.

The Incredibles, which earned $261.4 million theatrically, was the supplier's top box office performer to hit DVD.

Heading into the final weeks of the year, Buena Vista holds the No. 2 market share spot.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will deliver 29 titles to DVD this year with combined theatrical earnings of $1.43 billion. In comparison, Fox's 2004 DVD slate had 30 titles with a theatrical gross of $1.48 billion.

Fox's summer theatricals produced strong DVD product for the fourth quarter.

Star War: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith ($380.3 million), the top-grossing film of the year, was released on DVD Nov. 1 and could give Fox a push to overtake Buena Vista for the No. 2 market share slot this year.

Additional research by Renee Rosado.

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