The Blu-ray release of The Dark Knight helped sales of the format reach a record high in December, it has been reported.

According to the British Video Association (BVA), some 1.5 million discs were sold in the final month of 2008 alone, a 400 per cent increase on the previous year.

And the best-selling Blu-ray title was Warner Bros' The Dark Knight, which sold 281,000 copies in the month, and has already broken Blu-ray records by surpassing two million copies worldwide.

Mamma Mia! - which recently became the most successful film ever released in the UK - sold exceptionally well for the DVD format, becoming the UK's fastest selling DVD with three million sold in the first week.

"The growth in disc sales throughout 2008 reveals that the home entertainment market is showing resilience in a difficult economic climate," said Lavinia Carey, director general of the BVA.

Ms Carey said the demise of distributor Entertainment UK - the major supplier to Woolworths and Zavvi - had certainly impacted upon DVD sales.

"But we are not surprised that home entertainment is generally bearing up well; as people tighten their belts, many have rejected more extravagant outings in favour of a cosy evening at home with their favourite titles," she added.

"We expect the growth of Blu-ray to continue in 2009 on the back of strong releases such as Quantum of Solace, Tropic Thunder and The Duchess."

Market expert Screen Digest predicts some 17 million Blu-ray DVDs will be sold in 2009, comprising a seven per cent share of total DVD sales.

05/01/2009 16:57:23