HBO’s eagerly awaited fourth-season set of hot TV series “Game of Thrones” debuted at No. 1 on both national home video sales charts the week ending Feb. 22, a banner week for new releases in which the top five sellers are all newcomers.
Bowing at No. 2 on both the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks overall disc sales, and Nielsen’s dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart was Universal Pictures’ “Dumb and Dumber To,” the belated sequel to the 1994 slapstick classic that reunites original stars Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels and earned a respectable $86.2 million in U.S. theaters.
Sony Pictures’ controversial “The Interview” debuted at No. 3 on both charts, a ranking observers surmise might have been higher had the film not been available earlier via streaming (it became available on Netflix on Jan. 24) and online purchase. The comedy, about two journalists told to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un after getting an interview with him, triggered a massive cyberattack against Sony Pictures and threats against the major theater chains scheduled to show the film. That prompted Sony to cancel the theatrical release, only to later screen “The Interview” in a limited number of independent movie houses after making it available online.
Anchor Bay’s “St. Vincent,” a feel-good comedy with Bill Murray as a misanthropic war vet who befriends a young boy whose parents have split up, debuted at No. 4 on First Alert and No. 7 on the Blu-ray Disc chart, where the No. 4 spot went to Walt Disney’s “101 Dalmatians,” the 1961 animated classic that two weeks ago made its Blu-ray Disc debut.
Rounding out the top five on both charts was “Birdman,” the 20th Century Fox release about a has-been movie star (Michael Keaton), famous for his portrayal of the superhero Birdman, as he struggles to stage a Broadway show. The film was released on disc five days before the annual Academy Awards ceremony, in which “Birdman” picked up best picture and best original screenplay honors, along with two other Oscars.
A sixth new release, “The Theory of Everything,” a biopic of physicist Stephen Hawking, debuted at No. 8 on First Alert and No. 9 on the Blu-ray Disc chart.
Nielsen data shows that the “Game of Thrones” season set generated 54% of its first-week sales from Blu-ray Disc, compared to 41% each for “Dumb and Dumber To” and “The Interview,” 28% for “St. Vincent” and 53% for “Birdman.”
On Home Media Magazine’s rental chart for the week, Universal Pictures’ “Lucy” shot up to No. 1 now that its 28-day holdback from top rental outlets Netflix and Redbox is over. “St. Vincent” debuted at No. 2.
Twentieth Century Fox’s “Gone Girl,” the previous week’s top rental, slipped to No.3, followed by Lionsgate’s “John Wick” at No. 4.
Universal Pictures’ “The Boxtrolls” shot up to No. 5 now that it, too, is available at all rental outlets.
“The Interview,” already available on Netflix for nearly a month, could only muster a No. 10 debut on the rental chart.
Thomas K. Arnold is editorial director of Home Media Magazine, http://www.homemediamagazine.com.
Top 20 Nielsen VideoScan First Alert chart for the week of 2/22/15:
1. Game of Thrones: The Complete Fourth Season (new)
2. Dumb and Dumber To (new)
3. The Interview (new)
4. St. Vincent (new)
5. Birdman (new)
6. John Wick
7. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
8. The Theory of Everthing (new)
9. 101 Dalmatians
11. Dracula Untold
12. The Homesman
13. The Book of Life
14. Dying of the Light (new)
15. The Best of Me
18. Guardians of the Galaxy
20. Gone Girl
Top 10 Home Media Magazine rental chart for the week of 2/22/15:
2. St. Vincent (new)
3. Gone Girl
4. John Wick
5. The Boxtrolls
6. The Drop
8. Dying of the Light (new)
9. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
10. The Interview (new)