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Monday, October 19, 1998 Published at 17:19 GMT 18:19 UK


Titanic sets sail for massive video hit

Titanic: Set sail on video on Monday

BBC News 24's Daniela Relph joins the Titanic fans
Hollywood blockbuster Titanic is sailing into the record books after its first day on sale on video.

Shoppers have been queueing across the country for the film, with some even staying up into the small hours to be first to snap up a copy.

Producers 20th Century Fox are expecting to sell five million copies before Christmas.

Stores opened at midnight

Nearly 495 stores across Britain opened at midnight especially to meet the demand for the video.

In London, 650 people bought over 1,000 copies of Titanic when the HMV chain's branch at the Trocadero centre opened in the small hours.

Gaelic Storm, the Irish jig band featured in the film, performed outside the store for customers braving plunging temperatures.

Inside they were greeted by costumed staff members, an ice sculpture of the ship and free champagne.

"When we first planned the midnight opening, I wasn't sure how many people would attend. I thought it might just prove to be a lot of hype, but it has really caught people's imagination," said store manager Andy MacIndoe.

Sales are bouyant

[ image: Leonardo di Caprio and Kate Winslet]
Leonardo di Caprio and Kate Winslet
And sales are continuing to be bouyant across the country, with video stores reporting record sales.

HMV expect to end Monday having sold 35,000 videos - more than three times the amount the previous record holder, The Full Monty, sold on its first day.

A spokeswoman for rival chain Blockbuster said: "We're delighted with the response to Titanic, and it's breaking sales records across the country.

"For example, in our Halifax store we had 350 sales reported by mid-afternoon, which is a staggering amount."

The chain is also expecting one million people to rent it before Christmas.

Most expensive film ever

The most expensive film ever made at £120m, Titanic has vindicated the faith of Fox and Paramount, who shared director James Cameron's enormous costs.

It has earned nearly £1.1bn to date and picked up 11 Oscars, making global stars of Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio.

The biggest selling video to date in Britain is Disney's Jungle Book - 4.5 million copies have changed hands since its release in 1992.

The Full Monty became the fastest seller, hitting the million mark in record time.

But Titanic at £16.99 or £17.99 for widescreen is expected to smash both those benchmarks with ease.

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