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Avatar Breaks More Records, in DVD Sales

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 26, 2010 at 7:55AM

As DVD sales decline (8% in the first three months of 2010), studios and filmmakers are putting more energy into their marketing. Not to rest on their Avatar laurels ($2.7 billion global gross) James Cameron and producer Jon Landau returned to the campaign trail to promote the April 22 Earth Day DVD release. It worked. Avatar sold 2.7 million Blu-ray discs in just four days, a record:
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Thompson on Hollywood

As DVD sales decline (8% in the first three months of 2010), studios and filmmakers are putting more energy into their marketing. Not to rest on their Avatar laurels ($2.7 billion global gross) James Cameron and producer Jon Landau returned to the campaign trail to promote the April 22 Earth Day DVD release. It worked. Avatar sold 2.7 million Blu-ray discs in just four days, a record:

The previous record holder, "The Dark Knight," has sold 2.5 million Blu-rays since its debut 16 months ago. Fox also sold 4 million standard definition DVDs. The combined total makes "Avatar" the biggest DVD launch of the year, breaking a previous mark of 4 million Blu-ray and DVDs combined set by "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" on its first weekend in March.

And Variety reports 6.7 million units around the world.

And that's the bare-bones, relatively inexpensive no-extras version of Avatar. Fox and Cameron are waiting to sell another round of the spruced-up deluxe edition in November, at a premium. And you know Cameron wants to release a 3-D DVD in 2011. On At the Movies, outgoing critics A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips reminded that the bigger the screen and higher the definition (Blu-ray is a must), the better a movie like Avatar will look. Here's Cameron on Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

Meanwhile, worries continue to mount that most of the rising tide of 3-D movies won't come close to meeting the Avatar standard, as per the LAT. With global grosses of 3-D hits Avatar $2.7 billion + Alice in Wonderland $876 million + Clash of the Titans $388 million + How to Train Your Dragon $372 million = $4.4 billion total (per Gitesh Pandya), no wonder every studio in town has 3-D dollar-signs dancing in their heads. Now the Sherlock Holmes sequel will be 3-D.


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.