'Avatar' breaks all-time Blu-ray sales record in just four days [updated]
Just four days after debuting on store shelves, "Avatar" has sold 2.7 million Blu-ray discs to consumers in the U.S. and Canada, according to 20th Century Fox -- more Blu-rays than any previous movie has sold. The previous record holder, "The Dark Knight," has sold 2.5 million Blu-rays since its debut 16 months ago.
[Update, April 26, 6:45 p.m.: Warner Bros. now says "The Dark Knight" has sold 2.9 million Blu-ray copies. Details here.]
Fox also sold 4 million standard definition DVDs. The combined total makes "Avatar" the biggest DVD launch of the year, breaking a previous mark of 4 million Blu-ray and DVDs combined set by "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" on its first weekend in March.
"Avatar" also debuted Thursday in France, where it sold a combined 400,000 units on DVD and Blu-ray, the biggest-ever launch in the country. It is at the top of the charts in Germany as well, although specific sales figures weren't immediately available. It goes on sale in Great Britain on Monday.
The huge debut for "Avatar" on home video dispels concerns that consumers wouldn't want to see it on a 2-D home television after most watched it in theaters in 3-D. Eighty-three percent of "Avatar's" $746.4-million domestic gross has come from theaters with 3-D screens. More than 70% of its $1.975-billion international gross has come from 3-D.
The news comes as Fox recently signed deals with kiosk renter Redbox and DVD-by-mail firm Netflix that keep "Avatar" and all of the studio's future releases off the services until 28 days after they go on sale.
"Avatar" provides a much needed shot in the arm to Hollywood's home entertainment business, which saw its revenue fall 8% in the first three months of the year and 5% last year.
-- Ben Fritz