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April 24, 2010

‘Avatar’ shatters sales records — and inspires an armed heist in Mexico City

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Avatar on BluRay

Avatar” was an unprecedented sales sensation for home-video retailers, as it nearly tripled the existing record for single-day Blu-ray sales set by “The Dark Knight.”

Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” sold 600,000 copies on Blu-ray in the United States when it hit stores in December 2008; on Tuesday, “Avatar” racked up about 1.5 million copies sold, according to sources at Fox.

The DVDs and Blu-rays of “Avatar” were also clearly coveted as a black-market commodity: According to a report issued by the procuraduría general de justicia (attorney general of justice) in Mexico City, 3,409 DVD and Blu-ray copies of the film were taken at gunpoint from a delivery truck belonging to Technicolor Home Entertainment Services of Mexico.

The report said that the truck driver was assaulted by an armed robber in the Mexican capital’s Alvaro Obregon district. According to the report, the stolen cargo had a total value of 669,454 pesos (about $54,873).

Here in the States, retailers reported that a significant number of people bought a Blu-ray player and a copy of “Avatar” together, suggesting that the best picture Oscar nominee was a tipping-point product for format change.

For DVD and Blu-ray combined, “Avatar” sold “north of 4 million units,” a Fox executive said, a record for a single day of home-video sales.

— Geoff Boucher and Reed Johnson


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IMAGES: Top, the Blu-ray of “Avatar.” Bottom: “James Cameron goes native” by Kevin Lingenfelser

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