DreamWorks toon rings up $185 mil

After spending nearly a half-billion dollars to see “Shrek 2″ in theaters this summer, consumers spent an additional $185 million buying the DVD over the weekend, according to DreamWorks.

That figure should easily surpass $200 million over the next few days with rental fees and additional purchases added and will likely double by the end of the year. Pic has grossed $437 million at the box office in the U.S., a record for an animated film.

Consumers purchased 12.1 million copies of the movie on VHS and DVD in the first three days of release, with a record 11 million of those on disc.

The 11 million DVD sales nearly matches total DVD sales to date of the original “Shrek,” and put “Shrek 2″ among the top 10 DVD sellers of all time. “Finding Nemo” is tops with 22 million DVDs followed by “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” with 16 million, according to Daily Variety sister publication DVD Exclusive.

Typically, first-week sales of major hits like “Shrek 2″ wind up representing 50%-70% of sales. Depending on sales in the next few days (The toon sequel was released on a Friday instead of the typical Tuesday for most DVDs), “Shrek 2″ sales could reach as high as 20 million-30 million combined VHS and DVD units.

The studio would not discuss projected sales figures or how many copies were shipped, but sources estimate that DreamWorks shipped roughly 30 million copies to dealers last week. (DreamWorks has already begun replenishing retail supplies of “Shrek 2.”)

By comparison, Disney/Pixar’s “Finding Nemo” generated sales of 8 million copies on its first day of release — a Tuesday, Nov. 4, last year. About 10 million copies were purchased in the first two days and nearly 16 million through the first full week. Combined VHS and DVD sales have since reached about 28 million, according to DVD Exclusive, with consumers spending more than $475 million on the homevideo version of the movie that established a then-record gross for a toon last year with $340 million.

The original “Shrek” sold more than 7 million copies on VHS and DVD in its first three days of release.

“With the ‘Shrek 2′ marketing campaign now in full swing and an extensive effort continuing through the holidays, our replenishment efforts are fully under way,” said Kelley Avery, worldwide head of DreamWorks Home Entertainment. “The record pace is reflective of the movie’s broad appeal.”

(Eliza Gallo is a reporter for Daily Variety sister publication DVD Exclusive.)

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