Lucre for Lucas

'Phantom' DVD makes $45 mil in first week

“Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” has set a new first-week sales record, with an estimated 2.2 million DVD units purchased by consumers since the title was released on Oct. 16.

That sales figure, which equates to more than $45 million in consumer spending on the DVD, barely eclipses the old record set by “The Mummy Returns” just two weeks ago, when Universal reported first-week sales at 2 million units.

The next challenger is the year’s biggest movie, “Shrek,” to be released Nov. 2, followed by the release on Nov. 20 of last year’s biggest movie, “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

Although “Phantom” distributor Fox did not give a specific number of units sold, the studio has reportedly shipped about 3.3 million copies of the title.

Fox and Lucasfilm reported late Monday that 65% of all units shipped had already been purchased by consumers and that some retailers could run out of copies.

“Our tracking shows that the sales velocity for ‘Episode I’ is greater than “Gladiator,” the No. 1-selling DVD of all time, and “The Mummy Returns,” the previous No. 1-selling DVD of the year,” noted Mike Dunn, exec VP of sales and marketing at Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. “We’re doing everything possible to insure that we are not in an out-of-stock situation at retail, but given this velocity of sales, it’ll be close.”

Lucasfilm VP of marketing Jim Ward said, “This stellar sales performance is even more impressive given that it is nearly three years after its theatrical release and 18 months after its VHS release.”

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