Disney's ``Snow White'' DVD sells 1 million units on Day 1
By Bob Tourtellotte
BURBANK, Calif., (Reuters) - The Walt Disney Co. Wednesday said its new Platinum Collection DVD of the classic children's movie ``Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'' sold 1 million units in its first day on retail shelves.
The robust sales could be a harbinger of positive DVD news this coming holiday season for all of Hollywood's movie studios. And for Disney in particular, it provides a strong start for its strategy of releasing classic movies on DVD for a limited time only as part of the Platinum collectibles.
``What this does is demonstrate the demand for the most classic Disney movies,'' Bob Chapek, president of Disney's Buena Vista Home Entertainment, told Reuters. ``We anticipated that this would be a favorable indicator for that strategy.''
Disney's Platinum series strategy, put in place back in 1999, was meant to bolster the home video division, which had been a prime revenue generator, but began to underperform due to competitive pressure and too many videos on retail shelves.
Disney decided to keep its 10 most lucrative movies, such as ``Snow White,'' ``The Lion King'' and ``Cinderella,'' off video shelves for a period of time, then begin bringing them back -- one each year for 10 years -- in a Platinum series loaded with special features and available for a limited time only.
The ``Snow White'' DVD, for instance, will be on sale only through January 2002. ``Snow White'' has been one of Disney's most valuable properties over the years. Since the animated film made its debut in 1937, the movie and products based on it have generated $1 billion in revenues for the company.
Chapek said the idea behind the Platinum Series strategy is to keep Disney's best titles out of consumer hands as new technologies develop that would allow them to build completely new products around old movies and other content.
DVD is relatively new, and this holiday season the format is expected to see robust sales as more than 20 million DVD players are now in consumer homes.
Typically new DVDs contain pristine digital copies of movies for playback and extra features like director commentaries. But increasingly, they also include games for kids, soundtracks, and other features.
The ``Snow White'' discs contain a completely restored edition of the classic movie, a ``magic mirror'' to guide viewers through an insider's tour of the world of Snow White and Barbra Streisand singing ``Some Day My Prince Will Come,'' among its features.
Chapek said after developing and testing the two-disc DVD with consumers, Disney had high expectations for sales, but the 1 million units in day one was still pleasing to see.
The company reportedly shipped 4.5 million units to retailers this week as the title rolled out. Chapek declined to say exactly how many units were shipped, but he did say the exact figure was near the 4.5 million units.
The top-selling DVD of all time is DreamWorks Oscar-winning movie ``Gladiator,'' which has sold 5.5 million copies since going on sale last year.