Blu-ray Sales: Strange Week on the Home Market

While the new releases were terrible on DVD, the Blu-ray sales chart was incredibly active thanks to Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. This film sold 1.71 million units and generated $48.50 million in opening week sales; however, the DVD only release doesn't come out till the 15th of November, so it is not quite fair to compare this result to other concurrent Blu-ray sales. That said, the strategy appears to have worked. Green Lantern remained in second place with 331,000 units / $7.46 million for the week and 825,000 units / $19.41 million after two. The Lion King fell to third place with 208,000 units / $5.27 million for the week giving it a three-week total of 2.24 million units / $63.13 million. Not many Blu-rays have sold more than 2 million units in the history of the format, so this even more impressive for a catalogue title. Bad Teacher opened in fourth place with 135,000 units / $3.14 million, for an opening week Blu-ray ratio of 34%, which is a strong start for a comedy. Batman: Year One opened in fifth place with 102,000 units / $2.16 million. Its opening week Blu-ray ratio was 61%, but it does target the ideal demographic for the format.

The Crow made its Blu-ray debut in ninth place with 43,000 units / $520,000. This is a much better start than I was expecting. Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season Three opened in 15th place with 29,000 units / $1.17 million. Earning an opening Blu-ray ration of 37% is excellent for a TV on DVD release, although this show's target audience tends to favor high definition. The final new release to chart was Monte Carlo with 17,000 units / $413,000. Films aimed at young girls tend to have the worst Blu-ray ratios, and 11% is slightly better than average. However, until studios start phasing out DVDs, films of this genre will sell substantially more on DVD.

Speaking of phasing out DVDs... Because Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides only came out on Blu-ray this week, the overall market was a little skewed and one shouldn't take too much stock when it comes to judging long-term growth. Week-to-week, Blu-ray sales rose 28% in terms of units and 35% in terms of dollars. Compared to last year Blu-ray sales were up 128% in terms of units and 155% in terms of dollars. On Stranger Tides by itself was bigger than the entire market was this time last year. On the other hand, DVD saw their sales slice roughly in half, in both definitions of the word (as in "approximately", as well as, "violently"). The overall Blu-ray ratio rose to 62% in terms of units and 71% in terms of revenue. I suspect more studios will delay the DVD-only releases until a few weeks after the Blu-ray Combo releases come out.

The overall Blu-ray market should continue to be strong next week with the release of Captain American: The First Avenger, among other Blu-rays. On the other hand, last year was exceptionally weak and the biggest new release was Sex and the City 2, which is not the kind of film you want leading the way on Blu-ray.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2011-11-02