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APE DOES 'KONG'-SIZED DVD SALES IN WEEK.

Byline: Greg Hernandez Staff Writer

"King Kong" climbed to the top of the DVD world by amassing a gigantic $100 million in sales and rentals in less than a week, Universal Studios Home Entertainment announced Monday.

Consumer spending on "Kong" included sales of 6.5 million DVDs, the largest six-day performance of any Universal title ever.

The film, directed by Peter Jackson and starring Naomi Watts, Jack Black and Adrien Brody, was released last Tuesday in two formats: a two-disc collector's edition DVD with several bonus features and a single-disc version of just the film.

Most major retailers heavily discounted both versions during opening week, enabling consumers to snap up the single-disc for as low as $13.99 and the collector's edition for just over $20.

"People wanted the title and the film is doing exactly what you would expect it to do," said Ralph Tribbey, editor of DVD Release Report, an industry newsletter.

In addition to the discount price, "Kong" was also heavily promoted by Universal through a series of consumer product tie-ins including campaigns with Papa John's, Hostess, Kellogg's, Nestle, Chase, Toshiba, and Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Microwave Popcorn.

USHE President Craig Kornblau said DVD consumers seemed to recognize the "singular event status" of the three-hour film, which won an Academy Award.

"Hands down, Peter Jackson's `King Kong' ranks as one of Universal's biggest and most successful cinematic triumphs of all time," Kornblau said.

With a domestic box office take of $217.6 million, "Kong" was nevertheless perceived as something of an under-performer because of lofty pre-release expectations. The film was also overshadowed by the stunning success of "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," which had opened within a week of "Kong" and went on to gross $289.8 million domestically.

But internationally, "Kong" has been a smash taking in more than $300 million in foreign markets for a worldwide box office gross of $550 million. That makes it the fourth-highest grossing movie in the 94-year history of Universal.

"Narnia" is being released on DVD today by Disney's Buena Vista Home Entertainment and Tribbey believes that film "is going to do just as well as `King Kong."'

Also out today from USHE is the drama "Brokeback Mountain," which won three Oscars, and a director's cut of Best Picture winner "Crash."

greg.hernandez(at)dailynews.com

(818) 713-3758

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(color) ``King Kong,'' which won an Academy Award for its visual effects, has earned $550 million worldwide.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 4, 2006
Words:414
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