Sales for the three 2014 titles in the DC Universe Animated Original Movie direct-to-video line from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment seemed to inch up this year, despite an overall mixed reaction to the products and major growth in the digital download market. Selling just over 1.3 million during the calendar year, the DC Universe Animated Original Movie line saw a successful year thanks to a highly-publicized reboot of the line and promotional tie-ins from the Batman brand. The numbers below number comes from the three DC Universe Animated Original Movie titles that debuted this year – Justice League: War, Son of Batman and Batman: Assault on Arkham. Note that all numbers listed in this articles are estimated physical home video numbers only, combining both the DVD and Blu-ray sales for the listed time period, based on research and market analysis.
Interest in Justice League: War, the first DC Universe Animated Original Movie 2014 title and the official “reboot” of the home video line, which will now put more of a focus on continuity and design consistency, moved 115,000 in its first week and nearly 225,000 unit in its first month of release. The title, which went on sale the week ending February 9th, 2014, was heavily promoted by the studio, and marketed as a big creative and thematic shift for the popular home video line. The push did work, with Justice League: War amassing nearly 400,000 physical units sold since hitting shelves despite a soft reaction from fans and critics. The brand’s new emphasis on continuity and visual consistency helped the title remain fairly active on the low-end of the sales spectrum for the majority of the year after the initial sales boom trickled off. It’s worth noting that sales between both the DVD and Blu-ray editions were nearly neck and neck during the year, with the DVD sales occasionally surpassing Blu-ray, partially due to legal download sales eating into Blu-ray numbers and the DVDs being targeted as more of an impulse buy. Legal download numbers are expected to account a small but notable percentage of Justice League: War sales.
The second feature-length DC Universe Animated Original Movie title of the year, Son of Batman, was also the highest-selling title of the line for the year. The title moved 165,000 in its first week, the week ending May 11th, 2014, and managed to hold in the following weeks, experiencing drops smaller than usual for the line. By the end of May 2014, sales reached an estimated 250,000. The title likely experienced a stronger hold due the overall “Batman 75” brand promotion during the year, as both Warner Bros. Entertainment and DC Comics celebrated the 75th anniversary of the popular comic icon, resulting in increased brand presence throughout the year. And due to said promotions and special tie-ins, Son of Batman managed to surpass 500,000 physical units moved during 2014. Despite an overall mixed response from both fans and critics, the title remains a popular seller and is still placed prominently on store shelves and in displays with other Batman paraphernalia. Sales for both the Blu-ray and DVD edition are nearly on par, akin to Justice League: War, though the Blu-ray edition remains the overall dominant selling format for the title.
Lastly, the final 2014 release under the DC Universe Animated Original Movie banner, Batman: Assault on Arkham, also benefited from the year-long “Batman 75” sales promotion, having moved close to 405,000 units since its release in early August 2014. The title moved 130,000 units for the week ending August 17th 2014, and managed to keep subsequent drop-offs small due to a host of factors. The most critically-acclaimed installment of the line for 2014, Batman: Assault on Arkham was able to benefit off the “Batman 75” brand promotion, it’s connection to the popular, highly-acclaimed Batman: Arkham video game series and the cult following of Harley Quinn and the Suicide Squad – the main characters of the movie. Like Son of Batman, Batman: Assault on Arkham remains prominently placed on stores shelves and in displays as part of the ongoing “Batman 75” promotions. However, unlike Son of Batman and Justice League: War, sales between the DVD and Blu-ray editions are clearly in favor of Blu-ray, with the high-definition format accounting for over 60% of physical home video sales.
It’s worth noting that, this year, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment started selling legal downloads for many of their movie titles two weeks before the street date of the physical home video release. This gave many titles a two-week window of digital download sales before the subsequent DVD or Blu-ray titles were sold. This practice, which is starting to become the new standard for home video sales, does change the home video sales landscape, something that will likely become very apparent in 2015 as physical media becomes more and more a secondary market behind digital. Physical sales will likely shrink considerably next year, and it will be interesting to see how the market reacts. Next year will likely be a very crucial year for the DC Universe Animated Original Movie line, a film line dependent on home video sales.
Please note the above sales numbers do not take into account rental numbers, OnDemand numbers or legal download numbers. Sales numbers are estimates gathered through independent research, market analysis and various home media retailing outlets. Additionally, sale numbers from titles released before the 2014 calendar year are not taken into account. Also remember to take into account release date and character marketability when comparing sales numbers for each title.
More details on the entire DC Universe Animated Original Movie line can be found here at The World’s Finest special dedicated subsite. Please click on the links below to discuss the assorted releases covered in this article.
–Justice League: War Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
–Justice League: War Blu-ray/DVD Talkback (Spoilers)
–Son of Batman Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
–Son of Batman Blu-ray/DVD Talkback (Spoilers)
–Batman: Assault on Arkham Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
–Batman: Assault on Arkham Blu-ray/DVD Talkback (Spoilers)
Note: The World’s Finest would like to thank everyone for a tremendous 2014 and wish the best to all for great 2015 and beyond. Stay tuned for a very special site update post going up on January 1st, 2015! Happy New Year!
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