Tuesday, July 13, 2010

More on the Greatest Movies Debate

One statistic I forgot to include in the great movies entry was DVD sales. These are problematic because newer movies that were originally released on DVD got more hype and advertising (a bias that also afflicts box office gross). Furthermore, man consumers are reluctant to upgrade to DVD when they have a perfectly good VHS of the movie on the shelf. Add to that the unreliability of DVD sales statistics and that the best numbers come from 2005 when a few movies had just recently been released (the Star Wars Trilogy and Shawshank in late 2004) and you have a recipe for trouble. A few points:

1. While the relatively weak box office grosses for the Lord of the Rings films weaken their case, upon their release they quickly became the best selling DVDs ever.

2. The Star Wars trilogy claimed the 4th spot as a set within 10 months of release. This is even more impressive as many fans waited for the complete 6 DVD set they expected post-Episode III, others avoided the DVD upgrade to protest the "Super Special Edition" changes, and others had a quality VHS and had no need to upgrade. If anything this is strong evidence the Star Wars movies remain the most popular ever made. (It's also worth noting Star Wars is listed on Facebook as a favorite movie more than any film aside from The Godfather.)

3. The Godfather makes the list of best-selling DVDs, albeit at #20. Sales might have been depressed because no one likes the 3rd film, the DVDs were sold in a set, and because it had a weaker advertising campaign than the Star Wars films, if I remember correctly.

4. The Shawshank Redemption's absence from the top selling DVD lists in notable. This contributes to its anomalous stature along with its box office gross, compounding the possibility that maybe it rates highly simply because no one dislikes it. Another interesting fact is that while each Star Wars film costs $15 at Wal-Mart you can find Shawshank in the $5 movie bin alongside countless duds (and Jaws strangely enough).

5. Avatar and The Dark Knight are far and away the best selling Blu-Ray films of all time (Avatar is #1 by a good margin) and are enough the top selling DVDs, although I'm not sure of their ranks.

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