Since the format war ended when Toshiba threw in the towel on February 19, Blu-Ray sales were seeing only moderate increases, until just a few weeks ago. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the March 11 Blu-Ray releases of Best Picture winner No Country for Old Men was accountable for 9.8% of the movie's total sales and the action flick Hitman claimed 12.8% of the sales in BD. When the format war was waging on, a Blu-Ray or HD DVD disc would usually account for 2-3% of a disc's first-week video sales.
Ever since Feb. 19 that percentage has risen, though. Michael Clayton, which was released on the 19th, saw 5.5% of the first-week sales in Blu-Ray and 30 Days of Night, released on February 26, had 8.9% of its opening week sales attributed to BD.
"Before, there was a tendency to play it safe and stick with the standard DVD," said Tom Adams, a home entertainment analyst for Adams Media Research. "But now, there's no longer anything to worry about."
Steve Feldstein, Fox senior VP or marketing and communication, agrees. "Consumers in the high-def marketplace are now purchasing with confidence," he said. "The confusion in the marketplace that you saw when there were two formats continues to work itself out, and once education campaigns begin and the retail presence (of Blu-ray) expands, we should start to see the numbers soar even higher."
Fox market researchers estimate that Blu-ray sales will hit $1 billion in consumer spending in calendar-year 2008, up from an estimated $300 million for combined Blu-ray and HD DVD sales in 2007