Hollywood Seeks Break-out Title Sales for Blu-ray

The package content does not yet appear to be making noticeable strides to overtake standard DVD. 

While there have been numerous online reports from mostly tech bloggers that Blu-ray Disc players appeared to have sold well on Black Friday and perhaps beyond, there are no concrete numbers yet to back up such claims. Yet peering at the sale of Blu-ray titles, the package content does not yet appear to be making noticeable strides to overtake its less expensive competitor, standard DVD.

Consequently, Hollywood has been keeping its fingers crossed that some recent theater blockbuster will finally prove to be a break-out hit on Blu-ray and give the new medium a jolt, despite an anemic economy. Several recent titles (notably “Iron Man” and “Wall-E”) are apparently selling well, despite a lack of sales numbers, and this week’s anticipated release of “The Dark Knight” and future big titles will be coupled with parallel online incentives (via BD Live) to help boost the brand.

Overall, the latest general numbers available suggest Blu-ray sales accounted for maybe 4 percent of the market by disc volume so far in 2008—at least for the top 20-selling titles. (It’s been widely reported in recent weeks that for all titles, both old and new, Blu-ray may be capturing up to 8-10 percent of all video disc dollars.)

Blu-ray titles prompted sales of about $410 million through most of 2008, prior to the holiday season. Standard DVD sales so far are slightly over $6.3 billion (which, while dwarfing Blu-ray purchases, was still down about 8.5 percent from a year ago).

The Top 10 Blu-ray title sales for the week ending Nov. 29, according to Rentrak:

1. “Hancock” (Sony)
2. “Wall-E” (Disney)
3. “Iron Man” (Paramount)
4. “Tropic Thunder” (Paramount)
5. “Sleeping Beauty 50th Anniversary Platinum Edition” (Disney)
6. “National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets” (Disney)
7. “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” (Universal)
8. “Kung Fu Panda” (Paramount)
9. “The Polar Express in 3-D” (Warner Bros.)
10. “Planet Earth: The Complete BBC Series” (BBC/Warner Bros.)

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