A down and dirty survey of leading retailers in the New York and Los Angeles areas indicates that Daniel Clowes Ghost World graphic novel is getting a major boost from the release of the Ghost World film in those two cities.  The Ghost World film is currently showing on just eight screens in New York and Los Angeles, but the film took in $128,000 last weekend for a very respectable average of $16,000 per screen (better than any film except POTA last weekend on a per screen basis).  All the stores contacted by ICv2 had done a good job of anticipating demand for Ghost World books, but they all had to reorder heavily to keep up with soaring demand.  It is often dangerous to extrapolate from New York and Los Angeles to the rest of the country, but Ghost World, with all the great publicity that it is getting (see 'Ghost World Gathers Steam'), smells like a hit.  It won't be one of the top five box office movies of the summer, but it may well move more books than any of its 'blockbuster' competitors.


The message for retailers is to prepare for the film's opening in your city.  The sales velocity of the Ghost World graphic novel has clearly impressed the savvy comic retailers that ICv2 talked to in New York and Los Angeles, all of whom had to reorder the books long before they thought they would.  Jim Hanley of Jim Hanley's Comic Universe told ICv2: 'Ghost World is the story. It has sold amazingly well.  The Lincoln Square theater called trying to get copies from us.  They got 50 copies in on Friday and sold out in one day.'  Three thousand miles away in L.A., Bill Leibowitz of Golden Apple echoed Hanley's sentiments: ' Ghost World has sold very well and very rapidly.  We received a large reorder for the opening weekend and it was gone in five days.  We are also selling multiple copies to production companies and assorted Hollywood 'development' types.' 


MGM is rolling Ghost World out slowly.  This Friday, August 3 the film opens in Arlington, Texas, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Toronto, Washington D.C. and northern New Jersey.   Later in August, the list of cities expands to include: Atlanta, Austin, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Hartford, Houston, Kansas City, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Montreal, New Orleans, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, St. Louis, San Antonio, and Vancouver.  ICv2 will be monitoring sales of the Ghost World books as the film goes into more general release to see if the sales trends continue.  Stay tuned for more details.


Even if Ghost World isn't opening in your city this month, the amount of publicity that the film has already earned is enough to pique the interest of film fans, many of whom won't know how to get the graphic novel that inspired the movie.  Though retailers in cities where the film isn't showing this month won't have to stock the Ghost World graphic novels to the same depth that they should when the film opens, it is important to have the books and have them prominently displayed so that your store is identified as the source for cutting edge comics.  Certainly there is no better time than the present to put together a Dan Clowes section for your store, since the recent New Yorker profile of the artist (July 30 issue) is just one of many features on this very talented and heretofore under-appreciated comic artist.