Avatar Tops in First-Week Blu-ray Sales

After posting record box office sales in the U.S. and worldwide, James Cameron’s Avatar can add another record to its trophy case after being tops in first-week Blu-ray disc sales. According to sales data from Nielsen, the sci-fi action flick sold more Blu-ray discs in its first week than The Dark Knight, The Hangover and 2009’s Star Trek, with half of its physical media sales being in the hi-def format.

The previous leader for DVD sales, 2008’s The Dark Knight, sold just 62 percent of the number of Blu-ray discs shipped for Avatar. Other runners up, like The Hangover (40 percent) and Star Trek (34 percent) sold significantly less. Blu-ray discs made up nearly half — 49 percent — of all Avatar sales. The rest were traditional DVDs.

That compares to just 22 percent of Blu-ray disc sales for The Dark Knight and 24 percent for The Hangover. In that respect, Blu-ray sales of Avatar bode well for Hollywood, as they show that consumers are moving to the higher-quality format in earnest.

But while the James Cameron 3-D vehicle posted pretty substantial Blu-ray sales, overall sales of Blu-ray and DVD discs underline a pretty substantial decline in consumer interest in physical media. Even though Avatar outsold all other Blu-ray releases in its first week, it’s just seventh on the list of films for first-week sales of physical media.

In fact, it sold just 60 percent of the DVD and VHS units of Finding Nemo, which was tops in overall first week sales. The Dark Knight, which trails significantly in Blu-ray sales, was second in overall first-week sales, with 82 percent fewer overall units sold than the Number 1 title.

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