Dynamite first week for 'Dead Man's Chest'

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Talk about booty. Buena Vista Home Entertainment's "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" tallied first-week sales of 10.5 million units, according to the studio, to make it the biggest home video debut of any new release this year.

The sequel, also the top theatrical earner of 2006, shot to No. 1 on the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert sales chart for the week ending Dec. 10, and its draft pulled the original "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" back up to No. 9 a full three years after it was released.

On Home Media Magazine's video rental chart for the week, "Dead Man's Chest" also scored an easy victory, generating an estimated $12.9 million its first week out.

"Dead Man's Chest" is now poised to be the top-selling DVD of the year, beating another Disney title, "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe," which was released in April and has since sold about 14 million copies.

The "Pirates" sequel also will likely become the No. 1 live-action DVD ever. That honor currently belongs to the original "Pirates," which sold 9.9 million DVDs its first week out (and another 1.1 million VHS cassettes) and went on to sell more than 18 million units, discs and cassettes combined.

The strong sales debut of "Pirates" sounded a vote of confidence among DVD boosters, many of whom were cringing in the wake of a "Today Show" broadcast earlier this month in which an executive from file-sharing service BitTorrent predicted DVD's days were numbered due to digital downloading.

"With the incredible success of 'Pirates,' it is evident that the home entertainment industry continues to flourish," said Bob Chapek, president of Buena Vista Worldwide Home Entertainment, Disney's video distribution arm.

The success of the "Pirates" DVD isn't limited to the United States. In the United Kingdom, the film sold nearly 1.5 million DVDs its first of release, a record. And in Japan, "Pirates" sold nearly 1 million units to become the No. 1 live-action movie of all time in that country.

Elsewhere on the First Alert DVD sales chart, Universal Studios' big-screen "Miami Vice" debuted at No. 2, while the previous week's best seller, "Superman Returns," slipped to No. 3.

Two animated features that have been in stores for several weeks, Buena Vista's "Cars" and 20th Century Fox's "Ice Age: The Meltdown," finished fourth and fifth for the week, while Warner's "Beerfest" debuted at No. 6, one notch above 20th Century Fox's "24-Season 5."

In rental stores, "Miami Vice" debuted at No. 3, with estimated earnings of $7.9 million. "Beerfest" bowed at No. 6, with $6.1 million, more than 30% of its theatrical take.
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