Disney’s “Pirates” sells 5M DVDs. Good news for Apple?


iPod w/Johnny Depp

Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” sold 5 million DVDs on its first day of release (Source: Yahoo! Movies). The title is also available on the iTunes store. This is exactly the kind of news Apple needs to get more movie studios into the iTunes store.Earlier in the year, news spread of both Wal-Mart and Target fearing cannibalization of DVD sales because of online downloads of Disney movies. Movie studios are thought to share the same opinion – that downloadable movies means the death of DVDs and their nice profit margins.

However, “Pirates” is available at retailers as a DVD purchase and on the iTunes store. Apple could use this success in negotiations with other movie studios, showing them that downloads and DVDs can coexist without harming the movie studios’ bottom line.

I’d be interested in seeing the download numbers for the “Pirates” in light of the stellar sales of the DVD.



This isn’t over yet. 5M in “sales” just means that retailers put 5M DVD’s up for sale — not that consumers have bought them.

This means that retailers believe that the DVD will sell well, but we’re going to have to wait a few months for the actual proof via actual sales.


It’s clear the other studios are holding out, waiting for Apple to show a weakness. The best thing that can happen is for Disney to reveal that movies like Pirates is also selling like gangbusters on iTunes.

That’s the only thing that will make the other studios wake up and realize they are leaving the money on the table (and letting Disney take it all).

Justin Kistner

Is the version from iTunes HD quality with full digital surround sound? I’m pretty sure it’s not, in which case, true movie junkies would never buy a download over a DVD. Although, it’s quite fascinating to see the amount of downloads!

Joe C

I still don’t see why ANYone would buy a movie from Apple if it’s only a new dollars cheaper than a DVD. It just amazes me that WalMart feels threatened by this. Does anyone really think the majority of their shoppers are the kind to prefer movies this way?


Hmm, I bought the new Pirates DVD on an impulse buy at Circuit City on it’s initial release day (Dec 5th) for $13.99, seems like the regular price was $19.99. The Pirates DVD package included a special circuit city DVD (for a total of 3 DVD’s of content). So for an extra Dollar, I get extra footage, higher quality, and more flexible DRM. Hmmm, do the Math people, who got the better deal?


The real question here is how many copies did iTunes sell in the same period of time. Considering that the digital file costs $12.99 with very little overhead (i.e. manufacturing costs, shipping costs, storage costs) and a much better DRM scheme than DVD’s you would think that the studio’s would be all over digital downloads. Just think about how much they could make if they started selling digital versions a few weeks after the movies opened in theaters. That might even help combat camcorder pirating (doubtful but you never know).

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