Big DVDs still in play for holiday

'Pirates' heads up pre-Christmas release schedule

Black Friday might be behind us, and most of the big summer theatrical films are now out on DVD. And yet the four weeks that remain in this holiday season are still crowded with significant theatrical features that are being released on DVD late in the season with the hopes of attracting the impulse buyer.

Indeed, the collective boxoffice strength of films coming to DVD next month is a whopping $1.35 billion, compared with $864.5 million for theatrical features that came to DVD in December 2005, according to Home Media Magazine's market research department.

Take out post-Christmas releases, and the collective worth of titles available to last-minute holiday shoppers this December is $1.22 billion, compared with $811 million last year.

The biggest title still to come is Buena Vista Home Entertainment's "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," the year's No. 1 movie with boxoffice earnings of $422 million. The sequel will arrive Dec. 5 on DVD, the same time frame as "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" in 2003.

Will it be the year's top-selling DVD? The one to beat is another Disney title, "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," which came out in early April, right before Easter, and wound up selling nearly 12 million units, a record for any DVD release this year.

The original "Pirates" came out Dec. 2, 2003, and sold 11 million videos its first week in stores, 90% of them DVD.

The day before Thanksgiving, nearly two weeks before its street date, "Dead Man's Chest" was No. 1 on Amazon.com's list of the top-selling DVDs, based solely on advance orders.

The "Pirates" sequel shares its Dec. 5 street date with Universal Studios Home Entertainment's "Miami Vice," which grossed $63.4 million in theaters.

The following week, on Dec. 12, come four significant theatricals, topped by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby," with a theatrical take of $148.2 million.

Also out that day: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment's "The Devil Wears Prada" ($124.7 million) and two Paramount Home Entertainment titles, "Barnyard: The Original Party Animals" ($72.6 million) and Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center" ($70.2 million).

Another quartet of theatrical titles arrives in stores Dec. 19, the final Tuesday before Christmas: Buena Vista's "Step Up" ($65.3 million), 20th Century Fox's "Little Miss Sunshine" ($58.6 million), Buena Vista's "Invincible" ($57.8 million) and Warner Home Video's "Lady in the Water" ($42.3 million).
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