The Disney family is gearing up for another showdown for the top slot on the Billboard 200 chart next week, as reigning chart champ "Unstoppable" by Rascal Flatts (Lyric Street) is looking to fend off the revived "Hannah Montana: The Movie" soundtrack (Walt Disney), which rebounded 5-2 this past frame. Also in the mix for the next No. 1 ranking is "Forever in a Day," the sophomore set from MTV's "Making the Band" group Day26.
On Nielsen SoundScan's Building chart, released today (April 15), which reflected unweighted sales through the close of business on April 14, Day26's set is leading the way, but only by a slight margin. Industry prognosticators project the Bad Boy album to sell just south of 100,000 units. Estimates for "Unstoppable" and "Hannah Montana" are closer to 125,000. A media blitz by Rascal Flatts this week ("Ellen," "Dancing With The Stars" and "Late Show With David Letterman") and another strong box office showing for the Miley Cyrus film should keep sales of both albums steady throughout the tracking period, which ends on Sunday.
Billboard estimates the seven merchants who report to Nielsen SoundScan's Building chart -- Trans World Entertainment, Best Buy, iTunes, Starbucks, Borders, Target and Anderson Merchandisers -- comprise about 60% of all U.S. album sales.
If "Hannah Montana: The Movie" makes it to No. 1, it will be the first soundtrack to top the list this year and first since "Twilight" spent a week on top last November. In total, three soundtracks led the Billboard 200 in 2008. Of Rascal Flatts' three previous No. 1s, only 2006's "Me And My Gang" spent multiple weeks (three) there. Day26's self-titled debut album opened at No. 1 the week of April 12, 2008, with 190,000 units.
The only other album on target for a top 10 debut on next week's Billboard 200 is Silversun Pickups' "Swoon." The Los Angles-based rock band's debut album, "Carnavas," peaked at No. 80 in March 2007 and never sold more than 10,000 in a single week. According to Nielsen SoundScan's Building chart, they've already eclipsed that sales total in roughly one day.
Nielsen SoundScan's sales tracking week, as reflected in the official Billboard 200 chart, runs from Monday through Sunday of each week. The newest Billboard 200 chart, released today April 15 -- where Rascal Flatts' "Unstoppable" debuted at No. 1 with 351,000 -- reflected the week that ended on April 12.