'Beowulf' vanquishes DVD rivals

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Paramount Home Entertainment's "Beowulf" scored a double victory on the DVD charts for the week ending March 2, topping the sales and rental lists in its first week in release.

The computer-animated fantasy, which grossed $82.2 million in theaters, pushed the previous week's top seller and renter, Universal's "American Gangster," to No. 2 on both the Nielsen Videoscan First Alert sales chart and Home Media Magazine's rental chart.

The looming Easter gift-giving season and a big nationwide retail promotion brought several top sellers from fourth-quarter 2007 back to the top of the sales chart, including Disney's "Ratatouille," which re-entered the chart at No. 3; Paramount/DreamWorks' "Transformers" and "Shrek the Third," which came in at No. 5 and No. 7, respectively; and Fox's "The Simpsons Movie," which landed at No. 8.

Among new releases, the Sony horror film "30 Days of Night" debuted at No. 4, while Universal's direct-to-video "Barbie Mariposa" bowed at No. 6.

In the rental arena, "Beowulf" earned an estimated $10.9 million, compared with $8.5 million for "Gangster." The rental take for "Gangster," however, represents a decline of just 12% from the previous week, indicating the title might have long rental legs.

"30 Days of Night" was the top Blu-ray Disc seller for the week, outselling the HD DVD edition of "Beowulf," one of the final big titles to be released on the doomed next-generation format.
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