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DVD film releases down for first time since 1997

In the first 11 weeks of the year 13.8% fewer DVD titles have been released than for the comparable period last year, and if the trend holds up, this could be the first year with a decline in total DVD output since the format was launched in 1997. So says the DVD Release Report.

As of last week, suppliers will have released 2,174 DVDs, down from 2,523 in the comparable period last year, according to the publication.

The biggest drags on total DVD output is in the direct-to-video arena, says the report. Releases in this category so far this year are off about 40%, with 188 made-for-video titles hitting stores this year compared with 306 in the same period in 2005.

Also down by more than 20% is theatrical catalogue, because by now most marketable movies already have been released on DVD.

At the same time, the report notes that the number of new theatrical features coming to DVD is up a healthy 28.7%, to 148 from 115. It attributes the increase not just to the growing importance to DVD marketers of a film's successful theatrical run, but also to multiple DVD configurations of the same title and the continued shrinking of the theatrical-to-video window.

This year, 24 films have come to DVD with theatrical earnings of $25 million or more. On average, they arrived in stores a mere 121.3 days after their theatrical opening.

Last year, 20 films with box office earnings of $25 million or more came to DVD in the first 11 months of the year. Their average arrival time was 142.6 days. (Source: Yahoo)

Story filed 26.03.06

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