"12 Years a Slave" debuted at No. 1 for movie digital sales and rentals from Feb. 17 to Feb. 23, 2014, according to Rentrak. The list includes Internet Video on Demand (iVOD) and Electronic Sell-Through (EST), for both Standard-Definition and Digital HD movie purchases and rentals. (Rentrak's chart for movies on demand is a chart that ranks movies rented through traditional TV outlets.) In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty, personified by malevolent slave owner Edwin Epps (played by Michael Fassbender), as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (played by Brad Pitt) will forever alter his life. "12 Years a Slave" got rave reviews from critics, and it was a solid indie-film hit in cinemas. In addition, "12 Years a Slave" won three Oscars, including Best Picture.
"Ender's Game" dropped from No. 1 to No. 2. In "Ender's Game," which is set in the near future, a hostile alien race called the Formics have attacked Earth. If not for the legendary heroics of International Fleet Commander Mazer Rackham (played by Ben Kingsley), all would have been lost. In preparation for the next attack, the highly esteemed Colonel Hyrum Graff (played by Harrison Ford) and the International Military are training only the best young minds to find the future Mazer. Ender Wiggin (played by Asa Butterfield), a shy but strategically brilliant boy, is recruited to join the elite. Arriving at Battle School, Ender quickly and easily masters increasingly difficult challenges and simulations, distinguishing himself and winning respect amongst his peers. Ender is soon ordained by Graff as the military’s next great hope, resulting in his promotion to Command School. Once there, he’s trained by Mazer Rackham himself to lead his fellow soldiers into an epic battle that will determine the future of Earth and save the human race. Also starring Hailee Steinfeld, Viola Davis and Abigail Breslin. "Ender's Game" got mixed reviews from critics and did not meet expectations at the box office.
"Captain Phillips" held steady at No. 3. (Rentrak's chart for movies on demand is a chart that ranks movies rented through traditional TV outlets.) "Captain Phillips" is a multi-layered examination of the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates. It is — through director Paul Greengrass' distinctive lens — simultaneously a pulse-pounding thriller and a complex portrait of the myriad effects of globalization. The film focuses on the relationship between the Alabama’s commanding officer, Captain Richard Phillips (played by Tom Hanks), and the Somali pirate captain Muse (played by Barkhad Abdi), who takes him hostage. Phillips and Muse are set on an unstoppable collision course when Muse and his crew target Phillips’ unarmed ship; in the ensuing standoff, 145 miles off the Somali coast, both men will find themselves at the mercy of forces beyond their control. "Captain Phillips," which received six Oscar nominations (including Best Picture), was a big hit with critics and moviegoers.
"Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa" rose from No. 5 to No. 4. "Jackass" star Johnny Knoxville disguises himself as a senior citizen who behaves badly while on a road trip with his "grandson" (played by Jackson Nicoll), as the camera captures unsuspecting people's reactions. "Bad Grandpa" was nominated for an Oscar for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. "Bad Grandpa" was a hit with critics and movie audiences.
"Gravity" fell from No. 2 to No. 5. Academy Award winners Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star in “Gravity,” a heart-pounding thriller that pulls you into the infinite and unforgiving realm of deep space. The film was directed, produced and co-written by Alfonso Cuarón. Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (played by Clooney) in command of his last flight before retiring. But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone — tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness. The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth and any chance for rescue. As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left. But the only way home may be to go further out into the terrifying expanse of space. "Gravity" received 10 Oscar nominations and ended up winning seven Oscars, including Best Director and Best Visual Effects. The movie was a massive hit with critics and movie audiences.
Here are the Top 5 movie digital sales and rentals for the week of Feb. 17 to Feb. 23, 2014:
1. 12 Years a Slave (debut)
2. Ender's Game (No. 1 in the previous week)
3. Captain Phillips (No. 3 in the previous week)
4. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (No. 5 in the previous week)
5. Gravity (No. 2 in the previous week)