Burbank, Calif. — Warner Home Video (WHV) said combined retail sales of its Blu-ray and HD DVD versions of “The Departed” passed the 100,000-copy sales mark, making it the first HD disc title to reach the milestone.
Warner shipped “The Departed” to retail on Feb. 13 as both an HD DVD/DVD combo disc ($39.99 suggested retail) and a Blu-ray Disc title ($34.99). Both HD disc versions shipped day and date with the standard DVD ($28.99) and a special edition two-disc DVD ($34.99).
A Warner spokesperson said the 100,000 sales milestone was for sell-through of the title in the two HD disc formats combined.
The studio said it also holds the No. 2 top selling HD disc title in “Superman Returns,” and has three additional top 10 titles including “Batman Begins,” “Happy Feet” and “Goodfellas.”
The announcement follows Sony Picture’s recent pronouncement that its Blu-ray Disc title of “Casino Royale” was the first HD disc title to ship 100,000 copies to retail. A Sony Pictures spokesman said that, as of today, the Blu-ray Disc of “Casino Royale” has shipped nearly 140,000 units and sold through more than 80,000 units, making it the largest selling HD disc in a single format. The studio did not make that title available in the HD DVD format.
“We owe this success to a combination of great content and our decision to support both high definition formats,” stated Ron Sanders, WHV president. “By releasing titles on HD DVD and Blu-ray, Warner Home Video not only increases our potential audience reach, but also offers consumers assurance that regardless of the format they choose they can enjoy our movies.”
The studio said it believes that the support of two formats boosts its business by expanding audience reach, while helping to eliminate consumer confusion, because consumers can choose to watch Warner movies in high definition regardless of the format they choose.
If all studios provide their content in both high-def formats, the consumer transition to high-definition media will be faster, Warner said. “This is an essential growth opportunity in the currently flat home video business,” the studio stated.
Later this year, Warner plans to begin releasing HD disc titles on its dual-format Total Hi-Def (THD) disc, which will enable the combination of a Blu-ray Disc title on one side and an HD DVD title on the other.
The studio claims to hold “more than a 30-percent market share of DVD sales in the high-definition market,” and that it has both sold and released more titles than any other studio.