"The Matrix" Sinks "Titanic"
The surprise hit of this past spring has racked up first-week DVD sales of nearly $25 million, based on initial shipment orders of more than 1.3 million units. According to VideoScan, last week's Matrix sales have nearly tripled total Titanic sales and zipped past totals for the previous champ, Bruce Willis' 1998 blockbuster Armageddon, as well.
And that's not even counting Internet sales. The high-tech, virtual reality flavor of the film has made it a favorite among digital denziens, and Internet wholesalers are expecting quite a surge in Web purchasing. Internet retailer Reel.com has reported advance orders of 50,000 units.
The film's record-setting week also marks a milestone for DVD sales in general. It took just two years for the format to ship 1 million units of a single title (Titanic), compared to four years for compact discs (George Michael's Faith) and 11 years for VHS (Top Gun).
"DVD has not only revolutionized home entertainment, it's changed the threshold for success in the market," said Warren Lieberfarb, president of Warner Home Video. "The Matrix is the perfect example of DVD's market potential."
The Matrix DVD is packed with nifty extras, including extensive commentary on its cutting-edge F/X, a making-of documentary and links to special Web-based content.
Although the film wasn't initially released for sale on VHS, allegedly to keep the violence away from the kiddies, it's doing solid business as a rental. For the week ended September 26, rental revenue for the thriller was $7.4 million, nearly tripling that of second-place finisher Forces of Nature.
Creators Andy and Larry Wachowski are no dummies. They'll be cashing in on the Matrix phenomenon for years to come. They've signed Reeves on to reenter The Matrix twice more, making a Star Wars-esque trilogy of films.