Titanic videos sail ahead

TITANIC, THE biggest grossing film of all time, is now smashing records for video sales. In its first week of release it achieved twice the sales of the previous record-holder, The Full Monty.

The video sold 2.6m copies according to 20th Century Fox, outstripping the 1.7m sales of The Full Monty. Video industry executives reckon Titanic could sell 5m copies by Christmas.

Since it was released in Britain in February the success of the film, starring Leonardo di Caprio and Kate Winslet, has put all earlier movies in the shade. The film has now grossed pounds 1.8bn worldwide, after becoming the first movie to break the pounds 1bn mark. It topped the UK film charts for a record 13 weeks and in America broke the previous 13-week record set by Tootsie in 1982 and Beverly Hills Cop in 1984.

It might seem that a film celebrated for the enormity of its scale and special effects, its "big screen appeal", and which has been seen by half the country would not be a natural candidate for enormous video sales.

But John Ferguson, editor of Video Home Entertainment, claimed that such factors are not important. In practice he said, people do not seem to mind large-scale epics on the small screen and "are buying bigger tellies and bigger sound systems". Titanic has been exceptional in attracting repeat film audiences, mostly said Mr Ferguson "di Caprio fanatics - young girls in their teens see it six or seven times".

Before its launch, few in the business imagined that one movie could gross $500 million in the US alone, but Titanic has consistently broken such records. The movie cost $200m to make and was touted as heralding the humiliation of its director James Cameron.