‘Titanic’ DVD sinks record

More than 1 mil shipped

“Titanic” has once again sailed into the Hollywood record books, this time as the bestselling DVD to date, with more than 1 million units shipped to retailers as of Tuesday.

Despite DVD’s selling point as a feature-packed video format, this DVD “Titanic” is devoid of the format’s usual extras: It’s being released Aug. 31 without such bells and whistles as the usual behind-the-scenes featurettes, deleted scenes, musicvids and scripts.

Yet the lack of features hasn’t hurt it. Industryites project that sales could eventually reach the 3 million to 4 million unit mark.

Available only in the widescreen format, the DVD will feature the trailer, a 10-page booklet and new cover art. It retails for $29.99.

Cameron’s way

The lack of extra features can be traced to helmer James Cameron, who rarely includes additional footage or other extras on the first homevid or DVD editions of the pics he’s helmed, opting to wait until a year or two later to release a collector’s edition.

The pic’s three-hour-plus length also was a consideration in putting the pic and the trailer onto one disc.

Others in the industry say the move isn’t that big of an issue, noting it’s the pics that ultimately matter, not the extras. Paramount has already said it will release the “Titanic Collector’s Edition” on Oct. 5 as a two-VHS tape set, featuring a 24-page book and a single frame from a print of the film. Copies will be available in both widescreen and pan-and-scan.

The high-seas disaster epic has already nabbed kudos as the highest-grossing motion picture ever, at $1.8 billion worldwide, and bestselling videocassette release in history, selling 60 million copies.

The pic’s performance on DVD has long been awaited and looked at as the title, along with Disney animated classics, that will help cement the digital videodisc format as a must-have among general non-sci-fi fans and early adopter consumers.

Retailers are also expecting that the DVD bow and the lowering of hardware prices could combine to boost sales of the machines.

Attention holiday shoppers

“Paramount Home Video is thrilled to make this modern classic available to consumers in time for the holiday season,” said Eric Doctorow, prexy of Paramount Worldwide Home Video. “The performance of ‘Titanic’ on DVD demonstrates that this extraordinary film continues to enchant movie lovers everywhere.”

Industryites are also looking at “The Matrix” DVD release on Nov. 26 as another blockbuster seller that could easily top the 1 million unit mark. Warner Bros.’ release date for the sell-through and DVD title narrows the window between rental and sell-through to scant nine weeks.

Fox Home Video berths the pic on DVD in overseas territories on Sept. 1.

More than 2 million consumers own DVD players now, according to the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Assn, and the number could grow to 4 million by the end of the year, the trade org has said.

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