'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 both 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 the fourth quarter of 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 "Barbie Mariposa," the latest direct-to-video release in Universal's Barbie franchise, 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 may 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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