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Aladdin' sales top 21 million

By
DAVE McNARY UPI Business Writer

BURBANK, Calif. -- Walt Disney Co. said Thrusday sales of its home-video version of 'Aladdin' have topped 21 million, making it the best-selling videocassette ever.

The performance for 'Aladdin' beat the record set last year by the video version of Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast.'

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''Aladdin' consumer sales are currently more than 10 percent ahead of 'Beauty and theBeast' consumer sales at the same time last year,' said Ann Daly, president of Buena Vista Home Video. 'Additionally, our retailers are reporting that 'Aladdin' is the locomotive driving record sales across the entire video category.'

The performance by 'Aladdin' underscores the dominance of Disney in the home-video business. Besides 'Aladdin' and 'Beauty and the Beast, ' the next three best-sellers are also from Disney: '101 Dalmatians' (15.9 million); 'Fantasia' (14.2 million) and 'Pinocchio' (13.4 million).

Disney previously reported that 'Aladdin,' which went on sale on Oct. 1 for a suggested price of $24.99, sold 16 million copies in its first three weeks. Many of the copies are discounted or have rebates, but the latest sales figure means gross sales are probably around $500 million.

Disney executives predicted earlier this year that 'Aladdin' would easily top the lofty figures served up by 'Beauty and the Beast.' Their optimism about the performance of 'Aladdin' in the home-video arena is well-founded, since the movie was the 13th best grosser of all time in U.S. theaters with a box office take of nearly $217 million.

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Disney executives said earlier this year that 'Aladdin' had the highest 'purchase intent' of any home video it had ever released. Disney has also brought its usual marketing power to the campaign, with tie-ins involving PepsiCo Inc.'s Pizza Hut unit and a $5 rebate from Colgate-Palmolive's Colgate toothpaste for use with all Disney 'classic' animated films.

Disney will pull 'Aladdin' from store shelves around next March or April.

Disney currently has a leading 22.4 percent share of the $12 billion home-video market, which is expected to see double-digit revenue growth in the business this year with more than 70 million U.S. homes now owning videocassette recorders. The overall market is expected to grow to $14 billion this year and $21 billion by the year 2000.

Disney, of Burbank, Calif., has a huge library of animated films. Its other successful home-video titles include 'Cinderella,' 'Bambi,' 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit,' 'The Little Mermaid,' 'The Jungle Book' and 'The Rescuers Down Under.'

The success of the Disney animated videos show the growing acceptance of purchasing home videos as gifts, particularly for parents wanting wholesome entertainment for their children. In recent years, analysts say, consumers have overcome initial resistance to buying a videos as prices for the videos have dropped into the $15 to $30 range.

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