'Museum' sequel narrowly tops sales charts

Christian Bale's 'Terminator: Salvation' finished second

In one of the fourth quarter's biggest home video showdowns, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment's "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian" squared off against Warner's "Terminator: Salvation" last week.

"Night at the Museum," with broader family appeal and a bigger box office ($177.2 million), narrowly won the sales round, debuting at No. 1 on the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert sales chart for the week ending Dec. 6. "Terminator: Salvation" ($125.3 million) finished a close second, however, selling nearly 90% as many copies in Nielsen-reporting stores (most major retailers, with the notable exception of Wal-Mart and Sam's Club).

On the rental side, "Night at the Museum" scored an even more impressive victory, again bowing at No. 1 on Home Media Magazine's rental chart. This time, "Terminator" finished a distant second, with 69% as much rental activity.

"Night at the Museum" generated just 14% of its total unit sales from Blu-ray Disc, while "Terminator" sold nearly half of its week total, or 42%, in the high-definition format, according to Nielsen research.

Not surprisingly, "Terminator" debuted at No. 1 on the Nielsen VideoScan Blu-ray Disc chart for the week, outselling "Night at the Museum" by a margin of nearly 3-1.

The overall sales chart provides ample evidence that holiday sales are heating up, particularly for family friendly titles. Back in the top 20 last week were Disney's "Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure," Paramount/DreamWorks' "Monsters vs. Aliens" and Warner's "The Polar Express," "The Dark Knight" and "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation."