‘Phantom’ may break DVD record

Fox reports $17 mil spent on disc on Tuesday

Based on stellar opening-day returns, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment says “Star Wars: Episode I –The Phantom Menace” is on track to better the first-week DVD sales record set just last week by Universal’s “The Mummy Returns.”

Fox also claimed a first-day sales record at “traditional retail outlets,” reporting $17 million in consumer spending on the disc on Tuesday. Last week, Disney’s Buena Vista Home Entertainment said DVD sales of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” raked in a record $20 million-$25 million on its first day, fueled by an aggressive preorder campaign and placement in Disney Stores.

Universal announced last week that consumers snatched up a record 2 million copies of the “Mummy Returns” DVD in its first week.

While “The Mummy Returns” is one of this year’s biggest theatrical releases, “Phantom” was released about 2½ years ago and is in millions of homes on VHS.

VHS broke records

The VHS edition broke all records in April 2000 when it sold 5 million copies and generated $100 million at retail in its first 48 hours of release. Fox said total video spending (VHS and DVD) on the film is now more than $260 million. The “Phantom” DVD carries a suggested retail price of $29.98.

Sources say that stores could run out of the 2.4 million copies of “Phantom” that were shipped on orders of about 3.3 million.

Universal reportedly shipped 4.5 million copies of “Mummy Returns” and Disney shipped more than 4 million copies of “Snow White,” according to sources.

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

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