Fewer preternatural films taken home last week

Are film fans becoming superstitious? Have then suddenly become wary of the kinds of supernatural movies and paranormal tales they invite into their homes? What other explanation for there being only four preternatural films among the top-selling DVDs and even fewer (3) among the most rented DVDs last week?

Two films, I Am Number Four and Gnomeo and Juliet appeared on both the top-selling DVDs (for the week ending 12 June, 2011)  and the top-renting DVDs (for the week ending 11 June, 2011)  lists, according to Rentrak Corp.

“The story you are about to see has been told before. A lot.” That didn’t stop the animated tragic love story of Gnomeo and Juliet from being the top-selling preternatural DVD for the week and Number 3 on the overall bestsellers list. Gnomeo and Juliet also manged a sixth place finish among the most rented videos. That’s got to make director Kelly Asbury, who was also behind Shrek 2 and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, happy. Everyone from Hogwarts’ Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith) to Bruce Wayne’s trusty butler Alfred (Michael Caine) to Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) has lent their voices to the garden version of Shakespeare’s classic play produced by Touchstone Pictures.

I Am Number Four, the sci-fi thriller from Dreamworks and director D.J. Caruso landed at Number 5 among all the best-selling DVDs and was the third most rented DVD of the week. Stars John (Alex Pettyfer) and Sarah (Dianna Agron) may not be on the same level as Edward and Bella or Hermione and Ron, but they seem to be developing a solid fan base among young audiences.

True Blood: The Complete Third Season and Green Lantern: Emerald Knights round out the list of best-selling preternatural DVDs for the week ending 12 June, 2011.

Fan, some might say cult, favorite True Blood: the Complete Third Season fell to Number 4 on the overall list of best-selling DVDs and disappeared completely from the most rented list. It appears that truebies prefer keeping Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgärd) and his Area 5 vampires as well as the local shape shifters and humans for themselves on the eve of the Season 4 premiere (26 June, 2011). Only telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Pacquin) knows for sure. The HBO original series from creator Alan Ball based (ever more loosely) on the Southern Vampire series by author Charlaine Harris, is looking forward to a great fourth season. True Blood: The Complete Second Season has disappeared from both lists.

In its first week after being released, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights landed at Number 8 on the best-seller list. This animated tale from DC Entertainment and Warner Bros., is probably the least familiar of all the best-selling preternatural films of the week but has a great deal to recommend it.  Most notably Hal (voiced by Firefly/Serenity’s Mal, Nathan Fillion), Sinestro (voiced by Lucius Malfoy, Jason Isaacs) ) and Kentor (voiced by Master Bra’tac, Tony Amendola) under the direction of Chris Berkeley from the television series Transformers: Animated.

The Rite, Warner Bros.’ chilling tale of possession and exorcism ranks eighth on Rentrak’s most rented DVDs for the week ending 11 June, 2011. It is not ranked among the week’s best-selling DVDs. Director Mikael Håfström takes audiences and young seminarian Micael Kovak (Colin O’Donoghue) to Italy to learn about exorcism. In Italy, the modern skeptic meets exorcist extraordinaire Father Lucas Trevant (Anthony Hopkins). What ensues leaves not only Kovak and Trevant questioning their faith and beliefs but potentially many audience members as well.

As you can see, last week’s top-selling and renting DVDs featured heroic tales for audiences of all ages. The problem, perhaps is that every hero faces a villain, and while audiences love to see the hero triumph, lately, they seem reluctant to bring the villains home. Let’s hope next week is a better week for all preternatural films.