Cash biopic outsells rivals, chalks up $22 mil in sales

Oscar contender “Walk the Line” more than doubled its opening box office take during its first day on store shelves, outselling fellow contender “Pride & Prejudice” by more than a 3 to 1 margin.

Fox homevid pegged first-day consumer spending on the DVD north of $50 million at retail. The Johnny Cash biopic earned $22 million at the box office its opening weekend in late November, and has raked in $120 million at the B.O. to date.

The pic, released Tuesday as a single disc and double-disc collector’s edition, easily outsold rival DVD newbies, including Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp” reissue and U’s “Pride & Prejudice.” Fox said it sold 3 million units of “Walk the Line,” compared with 1 million units for “Lady and the Tramp.” U’s “Pride & Prejudice,” which earned $38 million at the B.O., came in third with around 800,000 units sold. All figures include rental copies, though the percentage is much lower for “Lady and the Tramp,” as is usually the case for animated classics.

Fox gave “Walk the Line” an aggressive DVD launch five days before the Academy Award in a bid to maximize theatrical and homevid coin. Until last week it was playing on almost 900 screens; even with this week’s homevid bow, the pic’s playing on almost 500 screens. “Pride & Prejudice,” by contrast, is playing on slightly more than 100screens with a tenth of “Walk the Line’s” B.O. last weekend.

“Walk the Line” is up for five Oscars Sunday, including actor, actress, editing, sound and costume design; “Pride & Prejudice” was nommed for four statuettes, including actress, costume design, original score and art direction.

Fox expects DVD sales to easily outperform the pic’s $120 million take at the B.O., but declines to provide spending projections. First-day sales exceeded expectations by 25% or 725,000 units.

The studio, which has been milking music tie-ins to the pic from the beginning, hosted a mini concert for its Feb. 28 DVD release party at the ArcLight. Several supporting thesps, including Tyler Hilton and Waylon Payne performed before Cash’s longtime backing band the Tennessee Three took to the stage for a short set.

Though easily outmatched by “Walk the Line,” “Lady and the Tramp” was no slouch its first day. Its perf matched first-day results of Disney’s last from-the-vault release “Cinderella” in October.

(Susanne Ault and Jennifer Netherby contributed to this report.)

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more