As expected, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” the year’s No. 1 movie, gave the home entertainment business a badly needed boost last week, selling and renting as though it was still the halcyon days of the early 2000s, when consumer spending on DVD was going up by the double digits year after year.
The Paramount Home Entertainment release hit stores Oct. 20 and within a week had become the top-selling home entertainment release of the year, with first-week sales of 7.5 million units, according to Home Media Magazine market research.
The sequel also became the biggest-selling Blu-ray Disc release of 2009, with first-week sales of 1.2 million units.
“Transformers” also takes the cake for day one sales, having moved 2 million discs its first day in stores, 500,000 of them on the high-definition Blu-ray Disc format.
“It’s certainly an encouraging sign for the business,” said veteran industry analyst Tom Adams. He added that the strong Blu-ray Disc sales count is particularly good news “because if the business is going to turn around it’s going to be because Blu-ray starts performing, and this is certainly an indicator that Blu-ray is starting to play its role and help stabilize the business.”
“Transformers” easily debuted at No. 1 on all three charts: the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert sales chart, Home Media Magazine’s rental chart, and the Nielsen VideoScan Blu-ray Disc sales chart.
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Director Michael Bay was at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Saturday and wheeled a pace car as part of the campaign to promote the DVD release of his latest movie, “Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen.”
Bay, who has directed both of the immensely popular Transformer movies said he was working on a third installment in the series. It will not be about NASCAR, though it will include some serious machines.
Two race cars – Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 and Ryan Newman’s No. 39 – had special paint schemes promoting the movie Saturday night. It’s not as if the movie needed much promotion, having earned more than $830 million – more than even Jimmie Johnson – this year.
Bay said it was his first direct exposure to NASCAR since he was a youngster.
“They asked me to drive the pace car,” Bay said. “It’s a long way to go to drive a pace car 45 miles an hour, but it is pretty exciting when you have 43 drivers behind you.
“A lot of my movies have dealt with fast cars so I’ve been around them. It’s interesting to come see it and spend a full day here.”
Bay got some track time early Saturday, getting comfortable in the pace car. He said he hit approximately 100 mph in one lap, but NASCAR required him to keep it at 45 during the pace laps.
Bay said he will have devoted five years of his life to the Transformer movies when he completes the third installment.
Asked if he has a racing movie in his future, Bay was non-committal.
“Racing movies are tough to do,” he said. “Sports movies are tough to do. It’s like the team has to lose and then it has to win.”
Paramount Pictures has signed a first-look producing deal with Platinum Dunes, the genre division run by Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form.
While Bay is well established at the studio on the high end with the “Transformers” franchise, Platinum Dunes puts him and his partners in position to be the go-to guys for low-budget fright fare.
“We offer a valuable service to the studio, especially with all this turmoil going on in the business right now, in that we do things cheaply, and we’ve had a lot of success with it,” Bay told Daily Variety. “Through the first two ‘Transformers’ films, I’ve gotten to know the studio very well, and I’ve got a good rhythm with them. I’m excited about this.”
The pact marks the first term deal given by Adam Goodman since he became president of the Paramount Pictures Film Group.
“What makes us so excited to have Platinum Dunes here at Paramount is how Michael, Brad and Andrew carved out an important niche for themselves over the past few years,” Goodman said. “They have consistently created excitingly commercial movies that have proven to be a formidable force at the box office. We look forward to a long and productive partnership with them.”