Earlier this year, we noted that with Avatar
still being popular in theaters, it looked as though the DVD release would occur while the movie was still available in a bunch of theaters, and wondered
what if it would actually boost
sales at the box office. For years, of course, movie theaters owners have whined
that they can't possibly compete against home theaters, and have boycotted
movies that tried to do a "day and date" release, where they offer the DVDs at the same time the movie is in the theater. This seems to ignore the fact that the theatrical experience is about the social experience of going out -- which is not the same as staying in to watch a movie at home (no matter how good your home theater system is). But most theater owners don't seem to believe this, and insist that if DVDs are out at the same time as the movie is in the theater, it will harm box office sales.
seems to suggest that's not true.
points us to the news of the record-breaking sales of Avatar DVDs this weekend
. His point, in submitting it, is noting that the sales were so strong even though the movie has been widely downloadable and widely downloaded for months. So, despite the claims that file sharing is destroying the DVD market, it looks like people are still quite willing to buy.
But a more interesting point is the impact on the box office. Last weekend, April 16 - 18th
averaged $2,006 at the box office per theater. On April 22nd, the DVD was released. This past weekend (April 23 - 25th
averaged $2,257 at the box office per theater. That's an increase of 12.5% over the week. That doesn't seem to fit with the theater owners' claims, now, does it?
Admittedly, a bunch of theaters stopped showing the movie this past week, probably falsely believing that with the DVD out, it would harm sales. But... the week before, a bunch of theaters added Avatar
back into their lineup. If we go back two weeks, we have a much more apples to apples comparison. The weekend of April 9 - 11
showed in 454 theaters, with an average take of $1,860 per theater for a grand total of $844,651. Yet, again, this past weekend, when the movie was showing in fewer theaters, 421, it brought in both a higher average take per theater at $2,257 and a higher grand total at $950,000. So if we compare those two weeks, with fewer theaters, there was a bump of 21.3% in box office sales after the DVD was released
As we predicted, it sure looks like the DVD release while the movie was still in the theaters actually may have driven more people to the theater, rather than taken them away from the theater.