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Unedited press release follows:
“Thor” and “Star Wars” Releases Spur Blu-ray Rebound
El Segundo, Calif., October 14, 2011—Strong sales of “Thor” and the “Star Wars” saga on Blu-ray Disc (BD) prompted a 156 percent surge in U.S. sales of the format in the release week ending September 18, possibly pointing to brighter days ahead for the overall market for movies on disc, according to the new IHS report “Star Wars Shines in its BD Debut,” from information and analysis provider IHS (NYSE: IHS).
That triple-digit year-over-year-growth caps a period in which U.S. BD sales already were starting to post the kind of robust growth rates the new format’s backers had hoped for following its 2006 launch. According to an IHS analysis of Nielsen’s VideoScan data, U.S. BD sales posted a 131 percent increase for the week of September 11, supported by the release of “X-Men: First Class,” and a 60 percent gain the week of September 4, supported by the release of “Tyler Perry’s Big Happy Family,” “Sons of Anarchy: Season 3,” and the continued strong sales of “Rio” which released on August 2 but was still the number one BD title for the week.
The surge in sales propelled the growth of the overall market for physical movies in the United States into positive territory for the week of September 18. Combined U.S. DVD and BD sales rose 1 percent for the week, compared to flat growth during the week of September 11 and a 3 percent decline during the week of September 4, as presented in the table below.
“Studios are starting to bring the crown jewels out of the vault for BD release,” observed Jan Saxton, senior U.S. video analyst for IHS. “That, coupled with the first releases from a very strong summer box office, has the potential to turn the movie disc market around. Weak DVD sales have continually dragged the market down in 2011, but with the strong showing of ‘X-men: First Class,’ ‘Thor’ and ‘Star Wars,’ the overall market may have hit an inflection point.”
“X-men: First Class” has special powers
“X-men: First Class” kicked off the BD sales rally with a Friday release on September 9, selling an estimated 350,000 BD units in its first three days at retail and more than 600,000 by the end of its first full week on the market, according to an IHS analysis of Nielsen VideoScan data.
“Thor” hammers out strong sales
“Thor” and “Thor 3D” arrived on video September 13, and together sold half a million BDs during their first week of availability. 3-D Blu-ray (BD3D) represented 14 percent of the total units sold with BD/DVD combo packs making up the other 86 percent .
“Star Wars” goes into hyperdrive
“Star Wars” fans greeted the Friday, September 16, arrival of the iconic series on BD enthusiastically, buying a total of 400,000 units in the U.S. in just its first three days of availability. The six-movie, nine-disc set represented 92 percent of total units sold, with the original and prequel trilogies making up the rest.
The $139.99 manufacturers’ suggested retail price (MSRP) for “Star Wars: The Complete Saga” was heavily discounted: Amazon.com lists the BD set for $82.99 while Walmart has it set for sale online at $79.99. That suggests retail revenue was $30 million from its first three days of sales.
To learn more about this topic, see IHS Screen Digest U.S. Video Intelligence Service.
About IHS (www.ihs.com)
IHS (NYSE: IHS) is the leading source of information and insight in critical areas that shape today’s business landscape, including energy and power; design and supply chain; defense, risk and security; environmental, health and safety (EHS) and sustainability; country and industry forecasting; and commodities, pricing and cost. Businesses and governments in more than 165 countries around the globe rely on the comprehensive content, expert independent analysis and flexible delivery methods of IHS to make high-impact decisions and develop strategies with speed and confidence. IHS has been in business since 1959 and became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange in 2005. Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, USA, IHS employs more than 5,100 people in more than 30 countries around the world.