Oscar buzz -- and a bigger box office gross -- couldn't lift "Gravity" over a highly anticipated Disney live-action fantasy when the two films hit the home video market last week.
Walt Disney Studios' "Thor: The Dark World," the eighth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the second to focus on the God of Thunder, rode its $206 million theatrical take to a solid No. 1 debut on both national sales charts for the week ending March 2 according to the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks overall disc sales, DVD and Blu-ray Disc combined, and Nielsen's dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales.
"Gravity," from Warner, mustered a No. 2 debut, selling about 57% as many copies as "Thor." The outer space rescue film, from director Alfonso Cuaron, stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney and earned $269.4 million in U.S. theaters. "Gravity" won seven Academy Awards last Sunday, including a best director nod for Cuaron.
"Thor" generated 59% of its first-week sales from Blu-ray Disc, compared to 52% for "Gravity."
The release of the two theatrical blockbusters pushed the prior week's top disc seller, HBO's "Game of Thrones: Season 3," to No. 3 on both charts.
Rounding out the top five on both sales charts was Disney's "Jungle Book" at No. 4, down from No. 2 the previous week, and Lionsgate's "Ender's Game" at No. 5, down from No. 3.
One other Oscar-nominated films was released on disc the week prior to the Academy Awards telecast: Paramount's "Nebraska," which debuted at No. 6 on First Alert and No.7 on the Blu-ray Disc chart.
On Home Media Magazine's weekly video rental chart, "Nebraska" bowed at No. 2, with "Thor" bowing at No. 8 - undoubtedly a product of its high purchase demand.
"Gravity" failed to chart because Warner is one of three studios that withholds new releases from key rental outlets Netflix and Redbox by 28 days to minimize cannibalization of sales.
"Captain Phillips" rose to No. 1 from No. 7 the prior week, with demand likely driven by its six Oscar nominations.
"Ender's Game," the previous week's top rental, slipped to No. 3 - followed at No. 4 by Lionsgate's "Escape Plan" and at No. 5 by Universal Studios' "Riddick."
Thomas K. Arnold is editorial director of Home Media Magazine, http://www.homemediamagazine.com.
Top 20 Nielsen VideoScan First Alert chart for week of 3/02/2014:
1. "Thor: The Dark World"
3. "Game of Thrones": Season 3
4. "Jungle Book"
5. "Ender's Game"
'Thor' Beats 'Gravity' in Home Video Sales
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