Videocassette version priced higher than disc

Warner is mounting another simultaneous worldwide release for “The Matrix Revolutions,” this time for the DVD version on April 6.

With the title, the studio also is reverting to a higher wholesale rental price of $35 for the videocassette version of the movie, the first time Warner has done so in two years.

The DVD will carry a suggested retail price of $29.95.

The homevideo industry used to release almost all titles initially at a higher price for some months to encourage consumers to rent them before repricing them for purchase; DVD changed that, however, with lower retail prices out of the gate.

WHV exec VP of worldwide marketing Mark Horak said the pricing on “Revolutions” isn’t meant to signal a change in VHS pricing policy, but simply to address the fact that most people who want to own the movie want to buy it on DVD.

“Revolutions” grossed $138 million at the domestic box office (vs. the $282 million of “The Matrix Reloaded”) and $416 million worldwide.

Horak expects “Revolutions” sales to be on par with the 30 million units sold worldwide for the original “The Matrix” and nearly the same for “The Matrix Reloaded.” The latter was the eighth top-selling homevideo title in 2003, with consumer spending topping $186 million. Consumers purchased more than 8 million DVDs of “Reloaded.”

(Jennifer Netherby is a reporter for Daily Variety sister publication Video Business.)

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