Promo push moves ‘Rio’ discs

Pic flies off shelves in first week on DVD, Blu-ray

Overall homevideo sales may be declining, but that’s not necessarily true for family fare, with Fox’s “Rio” flying off the shelves during its first week on DVD and Blu-ray.

The toon sold more than 2.5 million units in its first six days, breaking records to become the top family title for August, besting Disney’s “Hannah Montana: The Movie.”

Around 40% of “Rio’s” sales were generated from higher-priced discs, like Blu-ray and double-DVD combo packs, which helped boost the amount of revenue going into Fox’s coffers.

The popularity of “Rio” at retail reflects the continued strong demand for family-friendly pics on DVD this year; six of the top 10 sellers are “Tangled,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part I,” “Megamind,” “Despicable Me,” “Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2” and “Toy Story 3.” On Blu-ray, “Deathly Hallows — Part I” dominates with more than 3 million units; “Tangled” is highest on DVD with more than 6 million discs.

Last week’s homevid launch for “Rio” was backed by a high-profile promo push of the sort that would normally support a theatrical bow. Studios may have to pony up bigger bucks in the future to entice consumers to buy films, rather than rent them, given how selective they’ve become during the economic downturn.

The marketing effort, emphasizing the summer party aspects of the pic, included extensive TV and online ads; takeovers of 50 malls; tie-ins with 50 promo partners like Chiquita (Daily Variety, July 26), Capri Sun, Little Debbie snack cakes and Applebees; and beach balls, car shades and aerial banners invading beaches in 25 markets.

After backing the theatrical release, Rovio’s “Angry Birds” franchise promoted the toon by offering 15 additional levels with the purchase of the “Rio” disc. Game also promoted the discs through an ad when paused, providing Fox with millions of impressions given that the game is the top downloaded app in 55 countries.

Effort ended last week with a free concert at the Americana at Brand mall in Glendale, Calif., headlined by Sergio Mendes. It attracted more than 7,000 attendees, the most ever for that retail outlet’s summer concert series. Mendes also performed on “Latenight with Jimmy Fallon” for the launch.

“Rio” has earned $479 million worldwide since its April 15 release. It took $143 million domestically.

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