'Aces' high on rental, sales charts

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Universal Studios Home Entertainment's "Smokin' Aces" burned up the national DVD sales and rental charts for the week ending April 22, finishing first on the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert sales chart and Home Media Magazine's rental chart.

Studio sources peg first-week sales of the Ben Affleck actioner of 1.5 million units, making it a decided overperformer given its $35.6 million theatrical gross. That translates to about $25 million in consumer spending, not counting an additional $6.4 million in rental revenue.

The critically hailed "The Last King of Scotland," from 20th Century Fox, debuted at No. 2 on the sales and rental charts. Forest Whitaker won a best actor Oscar for his portrayal of brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, but the film only made $17.5 million in theaters.

A third new release, Paramount's "Freedom Writers," bowed at No. 3 on the rental chart and No. 4 on First Alert, where it was narrowly outsold by Warner's "Happy Feet" in the animated blockbuster's fourth week in stores.

On the high-def front, Blu-ray Disc titles accounted for 60% of sales, while HD DVD took 40%, nine points more than the previous week. Observers attribute to the lift to the strength of "Aces," the week's top HD DVD seller, which was not available on Blu-ray. The top-selling Blu-ray title for the week ending April 22 was Sony Pictures' "Casino Royale."
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