The week ended March 23 saw a pair of newcomers in a close race for No. 1 on the national home video sales charts, with Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse outpacing Walt Disney Studios’ Mary Poppins Returns.
Spider-Verse climbed to the top spot of the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart after taking in about $190 million at the domestic box office and claiming the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.
Mary Poppins Returns, a sequel to the 1964 family classic Mary Poppins, sold 90% as many copies as Spider-Verse. It earned $171.9 million in U.S. theaters.
The previous week’s top seller, Warner’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, slipped to No. 3 on both charts.
Disney’s Animated Ralph Breaks the Internet took No. 4 on both charts in its fourth week.
No. 5 on both charts went to Universal Pictures’ Mortal Engines.
Blu-ray Disc formats comprised 78% of unit sales for both Spider-Verse and Mary Poppins Returns. Of those, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc edition accounted for 16% of Spider-Verse sales, compared with 8% for Poppins.
On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended March 24, Spider-Verse debuted at No. 1, with Grindelwald slipping to No. 2.
Paramount’s Instant Family held onto the No. 3 spot, while Universal’s Green Book slid to No. 4. Mary Poppins Returns was the No. 5 rental.
March 19 saw the release of two big titles, Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, and retailers offered a number of exclusive editions for each.
Best Buy had a Blu-ray Steelbook edition of Spider-Verse for $27.99.
Target had a $24.99 edition of the Blu-ray packaged with a 48-page mini-book, “The Art of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”
Walmart offered a $27.96 Spider-Verse gift set containing the Blu-ray combo pack and a pack-in Miles Morales action figure.
Amazon.com had an exclusive Spider-Verse Blu-ray combo pack with a slipcover containing holographic artwork, listed at $38.99 but marked as out of stock until April 2.
For Mary Poppins Returns, Best Buy had a Steelbook of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack for $34.99, plus a $19.99 Blu-ray Steelbook of the 1964 original Mary Poppins.
Target offered a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray of Mary Poppins Returns with digibook packaging containing a limited-edition filmmaker gallery and storybook. It was listed as $34.99 in the chain’s weekly ad circular but $32.99 online.
Best Buy also touted a preorder of its exclusive Steelbooks for Warner’s Aquaman on Blu-ray at $29.99 at 4K UHD BD at $34.99. The discs arrive March 26 but the preorder includes a code to watch it now through Movies Anywhere.
Mary Poppins and The Nutcracker proved no match for Marvel superheroes and “Star Wars” as The Walt Disney Co. said first-quarter (ended Dec. 29, 2018) operating income at Walt Disney Studios dropped 63% to $309 million from operating income of $825 million during the previous-year period. Studio revenue fell 27% to $1.8 billion from $2.5 billion a year earlier.
The studio on Feb. 5 said lower operating income was due to a decrease in theatrical distribution results, partially offset by growth in TV/SVOD distribution.
Specifically, Disney’s previous-year results from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Coco and Thor: Ragnarok dwarfed Mary Poppins Returns and The Nutcracker and the Four Realms in the current year. Box office hit Ralph Breaks the Internet was released in the current second quarter.
CFO Christine McCarthy warned theatrical and home entertainment operating revenue would come up short in the current second quarter in the range of $450 million to $500 million compared to the previous-year period — which was the best Q2 ever for the studio.
Growth in TV/SVOD distribution was due to the performance of Incredibles 2 and Avengers: Infinity War in the current quarter compared with Cars 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in the prior-year period.
Overall, the Walt Disney Co. reported earnings per share of $1.84, down 3% from the previous year, when the company posted EPS of $1.89. Total revenue came in at $15.3 billion, about the same as last year.
The down financials nevertheless beat Wall Street expectations. Analysts were anticipating EPS of $1.55 and revenue of $15.18 billion.
Higher revenue from broadcast and parks — run by former Disney home entertainment chief Bob Chapek — offset the declines at Walt Disney Studios.