'Mermaid' Swims to DVD Oct. 32 Feb, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold
The Little Mermaid will be the next Walt Disney animated classic to get the full VIP treatment on DVD.
The 1989 film won two Oscars (for best song and best original score) and is credited with revitalizing Disney's animated features after a long dry spell. It will arrive in stores Oct. 3 (prebook Aug. 8) at $29.99 as the studio's eighth “Platinum Edition” DVD, a designation that brings with it significantly more bells and whistles than a standard DVD release.
The film is Disney's eighth Platinum Edition DVD — following Lady and The Tramp, which streets Feb. 28 — and marks the first time The Little Mermaid will be available on DVD in seven years.
“The Little Mermaid is a monumental film in the history of Disney animation that is beloved by everyone,” said Gordon Ho, EVP of brand marketing and business development for Buena Vista Home Entertainment. “It signaled the beginning of a new era of animation at the Walt Disney Studios that included Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King.”
Ho said Mermaid is the most-requested Disney movie for release on DVD and will be backed by a massive marketing campaign similar to that for Cinderella, last year's holiday-season Platinum Edition release. Cinderella went on to sell more than 6.5 million units and, according to Nielsen VideoScan data, is the No. 8 DVD seller of 2005, outselling such major new theatricals as Batman Begins and Ray.
Like other Platinum Edition releases, The Little Mermaid will be a two-disc set, with one disc reserved solely for bonus materials. Several cutting-edge features still are being developed, along with such expected extras as deleted scenes, commentaries, and featurettes on various aspects of the making of the movie. The DVD also will include several musical bonuses.
Ho said the film itself has been digitally restored, as has the audio track.
And like Cinderella, Ho said, Disney Consumer Products is working with a variety of partners to develop “a whole range of licensed products” to hit stores at the same time as the DVD, from costumes and other apparel to dolls and toys — more than 2,000 new products, in all.
“One of the greatest things about working on DVD releases like The Little Mermaid is that unlike a big theatrical release, we have the ability to plan very far in advance because we don't have to guess whether the film will become a hit,” Ho said. “It already is.”