The Couch Potato Report returns on March 31st

With Oscars over, another race is on
The awards season may have ended for last year’s films, but now the Oscar nominees and winners are seeking new accolades: winning sales on DVD.
First to cash in on its Oscar win is best animated picture The Incredibles, out Tuesday. It’s an early favorite to be top-selling DVD of the year. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we are looking at 18 million to 20 million units” for The Incredibles, says Ralph Tribbey, editor of The DVD Release Report.
That would put The Incredibles in rare company, approaching sales of the two best-selling DVDs of all time: Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo and DreamWorks’ Shrek 2, both of which have sold more than 21 million DVDs.
The Incredibles has topped the best-selling-DVD list at online retailer (which allows customers to order DVDs before their release date) since Feb. 28, the day after the Oscars, the company’s Jeff Somers says.
DVD sales “are clearly rolling off of a fantastic theatrical run and the Oscars,” Somers says.
Though Disney and Pixar are expecting superheroic sales, other studios are waiting to find out whether DVD releases will pique interest in their movies, which found limited success in theaters.
Combined, 2004’s best-picture nominees √≥ winner Million Dollar Baby, The Aviator, Ray, Sideways and Finding Neverland√≥ have brought in $365 million, $12 million short of the box-office take for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King alone. Return of the King was last year’s best-picture winner.
None of those films, nor such movies as Closer, Being Julia, Vera Drake and Hotel Rwanda, which were up for other Oscars, had the epic feel of Return of the King, although The Aviator cut a wide swath. The smaller scope of the films actually might make them a better fit for home video.
That should prove true, Tribbey says, “certainly for (best-foreign-film winner) The Sea Inside, which has taken in less than $1 million in its domestic box-office run. Million Dollar Baby, Sideways and Finding Neverland all have a legitimate shot at scoring bigger DVD numbers than they have in the theatrical venue.”
Video rental leader Blockbuster is anticipating enthusiastic interest in Oscar-related releases. “People are looking forward to watching these films in their homes,” says Jerianne Thomas, director of brand public relations.
Since the Academy Awards, has been tracking demand for Oscar winners:
ï Pre-orders for Finding Neverland, due March 22, helped the DVD jump to the top 10 from No. 83 on the chart.
ïEternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, already in stores, went from No. 30 to No. 14 after the Oscars.
ï Hotel Rwanda, which is due April 12, went from No. 299 into the top 100.
Best-actress nominee Imelda Staunton is happy if the nominations (director, original screenplay) help Vera Drake reach more viewers, whether on DVD or in theaters.
“Our film, and other films like Maria Full of Grace, The Sea Inside and Hotel Rwanda, are not mainstream, but we have been put in the Hollywood arena,” she says. The awards attention “does our films a lot of good.”