1st-half video biz rewinds just a bit

'Happy' leads DVD sales in '07

Consumers spent a projected $10.7 billion on home video in the first six months of the year, down 2% when compared with the midway point of 2006, according to studio estimates and Home Media Magazine market research.

Rental spending was projected to remain flat at $3.9 billion, while DVD sales were pegged at $6.8 billion, down 3%.

One reason for the decline in consumer spending could be the overall weaker boxoffice value of first-half DVD releases, off about 9% year-over-year.

Warner Home Video's "Happy Feet" was the top- selling DVD released in the first six months with sales of 8.6 million units.

The top-selling DVD in first-half 2006, Buena Vista Home Entertainment's "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," sold 11.8 million units, while the top seller at the halfway mark of 2005, Buena Vista's "The Incredibles," sold about 16.1 million. "Happy Feet" and "Incredibles" were March releases, while "Narnia" came out in April.

With a U.S. boxoffice gross of $291.7 million, "Narnia" was the biggest theatrical release of the three. "Incredibles" followed at $261.4 million, with "Happy Feet" next at $197.9 million.

The No. 2 spot on the first-half 2007 top DVD sellers list went to Fox Home Entertainment's "Night at the Museum," which sold an estimated 6.6 million units.

Warner's "The Departed," powered by its best picture Oscar win, was No. 3 with estimated sales of 5.1 million units, followed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's "Open Season" with estimated sales of 4.2 million units.

Paramount Pictures' 2006 remake of "Charlotte's Web" sold an estimated 3.8 million units to take the No. 5 spot, followed by two more Sony releases, "The Pursuit of Happyness" (3.7 million units) and "Casino Royale" (3.6 million).

Rounding out the top 10: Buena Vista's "Cinderella III: A Twist in Time" (3.5 million units), Buena Vista's Platinum Edition of the 1953 animated classic "Peter Pan" (3.4 million units) and Paramount/DreamWorks' "Flushed Away" (3.2 million units) at No. 10.

According to Nielsen VideoScan data, which does not include Wal-Mart, "Happy Feet" also was No. 1, followed by "Departed," "Museum," "Casino Royale," "Happyness," "Peter Pan," Fox's "Borat," Sony's "Open Season," "Charlotte's Web" and Buena Vista's "Cinderella III."

'Happy' leads DVD sales in '07

Rank Title Distributor Units

1 Happy Feet Warner 8.6

2 Night at the Museum Fox 6.6

3 The Departed Warner 5.1

4 Open Season Sony 4.2

5 Charlotte's Web (2006) Paramount 3.8

6 The Pursuit of Happyness Sony 3.7

7 Casino Royale Sony 3.6

8 Cinderella III: Twist in Time Disney-BV 3.5

9 Peter Pan Disney-BV 3.4

10 Flushed Away Paramount-DW 3.2

11 Eragon Fox 3.13

12 Borat Fox 3.10

13 Ghost Rider Sony 2.46

14 The Guardian Buena Vista 2.44

15 Saw III Lionsgate 2.2

16 Dreamgirls Paramount-DW 2.1

17 Blood Diamond Warner 2.08

18 Flicka Fox 2.06

19 Flags of Our Fathers Paramount-DW 1.94

20 The Prestige Buena Vista 1.92