Iron Man 3 was the top-grossing comic book movie of 2013, and Disney's second-most-moneymaking film behind Frozen. Disney managed to perform pretty well in the top ten Blu-ray sales even without help from Marvel, though, as Monsters University, Wreck-It Ralph and The Little Mermaid all made the list.
The numbers come from Nash Information Services, who track home video sales, rentals and on-demand transactions for the film industry.
Man of Steel, which was 2013's third best-selling Blu-ray according to the story (behind Despicable Me 2 and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey), generated more than $69 million on the format, compared to about $49 million for Iron Man 3. What's significant about that separation is that Man of Steel sold nearly twice what Iron Man 3 did (more than 2.7 million units, compared to less than 1.5 million).
The price point made a huge difference, then, as the Marvel movie saw consumers spend an average of more than $33 on the Blu-ray (offered in three different combo packs plus a pre-order version at Wal-Mart, starting at a retail of around $25, whereas Man of Steel had three different packages starting at $20, plus a pre-order version at Wal-Mart). Digital copy may have been a factor there, as Warner Bros. packaged UltraViolet copies of Man of Steel with all of their Blu-rays, whereas a digital copy for Iron Man was available only via either the Wal-Mart preorder or the more expensive packages that also included 3-D Blu-rays. According to Amazon, the suggested retail price for Iron Man 3's Blu-ray/DVD combo pack (which did not come with a digital copy) was $39.99. While it's extremely rare for copies to go for that much, the percentage you can offer as a discount, particularly when the film is a new release, is fairly consistent across the board which means that movie's key opening weeks would have generated more revenue from each copy than Man of Steel would have, with its $24.98 MSRP for a comparable product.
The Wal-Mart-exclusive pre-orders, offered when the films were in theaters and packed with exclusive content, both cost the same amount and both included a digital copy, so it seems as though that would have been the best bargain for Iron Man 3. If Wal-Mart continues to run such promotions (they have been in recent months, but have not been promoting them as heavily as they did for Man of Steel and Iron Man 3), that may be worth remembering for future Marvel movies.
With 1.7 million copies sold, The Wolverine actually took the #10 spot on the Blu-ray sales chart, pushing Iron Man 3 down to #11 and out of the top ten altogether. On DVD, the film barely clung to the bottom of the year's top forty at #39. On DVD, Man of Steel came in at #20 while The Wolverine hit #22. In fact, on DVD even 2012's The Dark Knight Rises beat out Iron Man 3, selling 1.4 million copies in 2013 as compared to Iron Man 3's 1.2.
Of course, the reason for not buying Iron Man 3 on DVD is the same as any other Marvel movie; Blu-ray customers get access to the One-Shot short films -- in this case, Agent Carter which was hugely-anticipated not just because fans enjoyed Hayley Atwell's portrayal of the character in Captain America: The First Avenger but because by the time the Iron Man 3 Blu-ray was on the shelves, rumors were already swirling that Carter was going to get her own TV series.
Earlier today, Target added Man of Steel to their $10 offerings for the Target Ticket on-demand service, which is supported by UltraViolet.