The men behind One of Us’ premiere home release review podcast, Digital Noise, do their very best to help you, the consumer, make smart purchasing choices. They sit through as many DVDs and Blu-Rays as they can, regardless of quality, so that you can go straight for the gems and avoid the garbage. Sometimes people heed their advice. 2013 was not one of those times.
Despite their hard work day in and day out, their efforts have been Sisyphean this year. According to the Nielsen Company, the top-selling home release of 2013 was Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 2.
You owe Chris, Brian, and Luke an apology, America.
The final entry in the film series based on the Twilight books dominated the category and beat out every movie from Marvel, Disney, and other well-known studios. Nielsen based its findings on aggregate disc unit sales (DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray/DVD Combo packs, etc.) made from December 31, 2012 to December 1, 2013. Their research reaffirmed a basic truth of media: franchises sell better than original properties. Of the top ten best-selling home releases in 2013, six were either prequels, sequels, or otherwise new entries in an existing property. Only Wreck-It Ralph, Hotel Transylvania, Rise of the Guardians, and The Croods managed to reach the top ten without previous films to support them. The ten best selling home releases of this year were:
1. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2
2. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
4. Wreck-It Ralph
5. Monsters University
6. Hotel Transylvania
7. Rise of the Guardians
8. Iron Man 3
9. The Croods
10. Star Trek Into Darkness
Franchises beat original properties in other media outlets as well. Each of ten best-selling video games for Xbox 360 and PC were sequels, while The Last of Us was the only title of the ten best-selling PS3 games to exist outside of an established property.
There not too much to say about this trend, people like to support what they already know they like. Of course, there is nothing wrong with supporting a franchise. However, it appears that studios and developers will be less incentivized to take a chance on new material for the foreseeable future. Until consumers indicate that they want more media from unrecognized sources, the flood of sequels will continue unabated. This is an unfortunate scenario for the creators of tomorrow.
Did you take a chance on an original property this year? Which non-franchise movies, comics, games, or books from this year would you recommend to fellow geeks? Let us know in the comments!