U.S. revs will push comicbook franchise past $1 bil mark

The movie consumers spent the most money on over the Thanksgiving weekend wasn’t in theaters; it was Fox’s DVD and VHS versions of “X2: X-Men United,” which generated an estimated $107 million, or about half its entire theatrical gross, in just its first five days.

Universal’s homevid version of the year’s biggest comedy, “Bruce Almighty,” was second in stores, with consumers spending $80 million buying 5 million copies of the movie that generated $243 million in theaters earlier this year. That’s not only one of the biggest openings for a homevideo title, it is the biggest-selling comedy DVD release in Thanksgiving history, according to Universal.

With overall worldwide box office grosses on “X-Men” and “X2″ at about $700 million, homevid revenue from the U.S. alone will push the franchise past the $1 billion mark. Vid revs from the original movie, released on Thanksgiving weekend in 2000, and this year’s DVD exclusive “X-Men 1.5″ have generated a combined $180 million, according to Fox. “X-2,” nominated for new movie on DVD kudos at Tuesday’s DVD Exclusive Awards, has already sold 6 million units in its first week of release and is on pace to sell more than 10 million copies and approach the title’s $215 million theatrical gross earlier this year.

Studios keep a far larger percentage of DVD sales than of box office grosses, spend far less on marketing, and, of course, have no production costs to offset from DVD profits. Fox also projects an estimated $170 million from overseas homevid sales of “X2″ that will be added to about $125 million from overseas customers on the first one, bringing global revs from theatrical and vid on the franchise to nearly $1.4 billion.

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