'Saw' series tearing up video charts


Lionsgate continued to dominate the DVD sales and rental charts for the week ending Jan. 28, with the gruesome horror sequel "Saw III" cutting its way through the competition to top the national DVD sales and rental charts.

The title's draw proved so strong that both the original "Saw" and "Saw II" reappeared in the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert Top 20, at No. 16 and No. 15, respectively.

Lionsgate's direct-to-video "The Invincible Iron Man," meanwhile, made a surprisingly strong debut its first week in stores, bowing at No. 3 on the First Alert chart. It's the third in a series of eight to 10 direct-to-video animated features based on Marvel Comics characters that Lionsgate is releasing under the Marvel Animated Features banner.

Buena Vista's "The Guardian" debuted at No. 2 on First Alert, with the previous week's top seller, Sony Pictures' "Gridiron Gang," slipping to No. 4.

In rental stores, "Saw III" generated an estimated $7.6 million in revenue to take the top spot on Home Media Magazine's video rental chart. "Guardian" finished a distant second, with $4.8 million.

The previous week's top renter, Lionsgate's "Employee of the Month," slipped to No. 3 its second week in stores, generating an additional $4.6 million, a drop of just 13%. The film has made nearly $10 million in rental income, or 35% of its theatrical gross.