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From 'Under the Sea' to 'You Can Fly'

16 Oct, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Seventeen years after its theatrical debut, Walt Disney's The Little Mermaid made a big splash on DVD. The two-disc “Platinum Edition” of the animated classic, which hasn't been available on DVD in seven years, sold more than 4 million units its first week in stores, Disney reports, making it the top animated October DVD debut ever.

The Little Mermaid is one of the treasures of the Disney vault, and it is wonderful to see so many of our consumers respond to this long-awaited release,” said Buena Vista Worldwide Home Entertainment president Bob Chapek.

He noted that the film's DVD debut was bigger than any previous “Platinum Edition” release, an elite club that includes such classics as Bambi, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.Chapek said the sales success “also presents strong evidence that DVD and the digital space can coexist in a healthy and dynamic environment … and that is good for the industry overall.”

The fact that The Little Mermaid could be bought for $12.99 on Apple's iTunes music store reportedly rankled Target Corp. and prompted the chain's president to send a letter to all the Hollywood studios, pressing for equitable pricing on DVDs.

Buena Vista also announced its next “Platinum Edition” DVD release will be Peter Pan, coming March 6, 2007. The 1953 film has undergone an extensive digital restoration and features a new 5.1 home theater mix.

Bonus features on the $29.99 two-disc edition include a never-before-seen alternate opening set in Neverland rather than the Darling family's home; three new multi-level games; a deleted song; an interview with Walt Disney on why he made Peter Pan a making-of documentary; a storybook; and a preview of the new Tinker Bell movie.

Also in the Disney pipeline: Cinderella III: A Twist in Time ($29.99), a second direct-to-video sequel to the theatrical original coming Feb. 6, 2007. Bonus features include a game in which players can put the fairy godmother's wand in other characters' hands, and a DVD-ROM element that lets viewers enter a virtual ballroom and perform such activities as choreograph different dances, try on different gowns, print “princess” party invitations and import printable photos to turn themselves into characters from the movie.

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