"Passion" Plays Big on DVD

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by Allan, Sep 10, 2004.

  1. Allan

    Allan Guest


    "Passion" Plays Big on DVD

    by Josh Grossberg
    Sep 9, 2004, 2:30 PM PT

    Talk about your Second Comings.

    Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ ascended to the top of the home
    video charts last week, selling more than 9 million combined DVD and
    VHS units to surpass the record set by The Lord of the Rings trilogy
    as the biggest debut for a live-action title.

    a d v e r t i s e m e n t

    According to figures released by distributor 20th Century Fox Home
    Entertainment, consumers snapped up a whopping 4.1 million units of
    the biblical blockbuster on its first day in stores on Aug. 31.

    Additionally, Video Store magazine estimates that The Passion racked
    up more than $9.45 million worth of rentals, leading that category.

    Demand for the controversial fire-and-brimstone account of the last 12
    hours in the life of Jesus of Nazareth has been sky-high, driven by
    the ongoing grassroots marketing campaign by the Fox, which blitzed
    churches and other Christian organizations with promotional materials
    and offering discounts on bulk orders.

    The Passion topped Amazon.com's DVD pre-order list ever as soon as its
    release was announced back in May. This despite the bare-bones nature
    of the disc; it had none of the bells and whistles--featurettes,
    outtakes, director's commentary and interviews with the cast and
    crew--that often trick out high-profile releases.

    Helping to contribute to the heavenly totals were big boxes like
    Wal-Mart and Best Buy that, in trying to undercut one another, offered
    steep discounts on the $30 DVD and $25 VHS, selling them at prices
    between $10 to $20, and even dangling free merchandise like two-liter
    bottles of Coke and microwave popcorn in hopes of attracting buyers.

    However, Scott Hettrick, editor-in-chief of the trade magazines Video
    Business and DVD Exclusive, said such deals can actually undercut the
    earnings potential for the video.

    "The end results of such deep discounts is a severe impact on the
    amount of overall revenue the title generates. There's no reason a
    movie like Passion, which grossed $370 million in U.S. box office
    receipts, shouldn't generate that much or more in consumer spending,
    as do most DVDs," writes Hettrick in Video Business editorial. "But at
    a $15 average, that revenue drops to $300 million. At $11 per copy,
    the revenue drops to $220 million."

    But Hettrick adds that even with the discounts, Gibson and his Icon
    Productions will make out just fine regardless--earning at least $366
    million in profits--since retailers will have already plunked $18 per
    copy, the wholesale price.

    Just imagine the holy haul Gibson would pocket if he ever gets around
    to a special-edition DVD. (Nah... that will never happen!! :eek:) )

    "Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker's game
    because they almost always turn out to be -- or to be indistinguishable from
    -- self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time."
    - Neil Stephenson, _Cryptonomicon_
    Allan, Sep 10, 2004
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