Total U.S. consumer dollars spent on home entertainment — including DVDs, video on demand and online streaming — declined 2.1 percent to $18 billion for the year, according to industry group DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. Consumers continued to shift to lower-priced rentals from companies such as Netflix and Coinstar’s Redbox kiosks, eschewing outright ownership.
The DEG pointed to bright spots, including a 20 percent jump in sales of high-definition Blu-ray discs that topped $2 billion for the first time. “The industry’s performance clearly stabilized in 2011,” it said in a statement. (The top choices for the year? “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1,” followed by “Part 2″ at No. 2)
“Tower Heist,” an Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller comic caper, is poised to run away with the box-office crown this weekend.
Distributor Universal Pictures projects U.S. and Canadian ticket sales in the neighborhood of $25 million to $30 million for the movie about Manhattan high-rise residents who seek to recoup losses from a Wall Street swindler. That should beat the other big new release, the third installment from goofy, pot-smoking duo Harold & Kumar. “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas” is expected to ring up $15 million to $18 million at domestic theaters, according to distributor Warner Bros.
The weekend also will determine if DreamWorks Animation’s two-week debut strategy pays off for “Shrek” spinoff “Puss in Boots.” The cat’s chart-topping $34 million in domestic sales last weekend failed to impress investors, who sent the company’s shares down nearly 8 percent on Monday. The studio planned a big push for the movie’s second weekend, given that Halloween activities occupied many families last weekend.