BURBANK, Calif., April 28 -- Walt Disney Co. believes it may be able to sell more than 20 million copies of its home-video version of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.'
Disney, the king of the video industry, will start selling the video Oct. 28 at a suggested retail price of $26.99.
''Snow White' is the first and most desired Disney animated motion picture in a collection of films that has amassed sales of well over 160 million videocassettes,' said Ann Daly, president of Disney's Buena Vista Home Video operation.
Daly said Disney will launch the largest advertising-promotional campaign ever for a home video. It will cut off sales of the video in early 1995.
'The media blitz for 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' is the most aggressive campaign Disney has ever intitiated,' Daly said.
Disney announced in February that it planned to release 'Snow White' to the home video market, reversing its long-held position that the 'crown jewel' of its animated collection would remain only a theatrical release.
The studio has released the 1937 cartoon, one of the first major successes for founder Walt Disney, nine times domestically and racked up more than $1 billion in ticket sales worldwide. 'Snow White' was Disney's most successful release last summer, topping $41 million in domestic ticket sales.
Daly said she will be 'happy' with sales of more than 20 million. Disney holds the record for most videos sold with 24 million copies of 'Aladdin' during the past holiday season and 22 million copies of 'Beauty and the Beast.' Unlike those two megahits, the 'Snow White' home video will also be released into foreign markets at the same time as a domestic release.
The campaign for 'Snow White' will include a coupon booklet with the video; a $5 refund if the customer buys both 'Snow White' and another Disney title; a $5 refund with purchase of several Pillsbury products.
Disney also plans to release a laserdisc version of 'Snow White' for $29.99, along with collector's editions of the video and laserdisc that include posters, a book and a video about making the movie. The video collector's edition will cost $79.99, while the laserdisc version will cost $99.99.
Daly also said Disney will release more than 100 new video titles this year, including a four-volume Johnny Carson collection of highlights of 'The Tonight Show,' due out May 27; direct-to-video 'Aladdin' sequel, 'The Return of Jafar,' due out May 20; 'The Nighmare Before Christmas,' due out in the fall; and direct-to-video 'Muppet Classic Theater,' due out Aug. 12.
Daly said Disney is likely to continue its move into direct-to-video movies, which do not move into movie theaters.
Daly also noted that sales of home videos are expected to continue to grow this year, but gave no forecast. She noted that 75 million households currently have videocassette recorders and that two-thirds of those purchased videos last year.
Sales of home videos, powered by Disney hits 'Aladdin' and 'Pinocchio,' rose an estimated 16 percent last year to 413.1 million tapes, according to industry trackers Alexander & Associates.
The success of Disney's 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 videos as prices have dropped into the $15 to $30 range.
Best-selling videos of all time, studio, year of release, unit sales.
1. 'Aladdin,' Disney, 1993, 24 million.
2. 'Beauty and the Beast,' Disney, 1992, 22 million.
3. '101 Dalmatians,' Disney, 1992, 15.9 million.
4. 'E.T.,' Universal, 1988, 15 million.
5. 'Fantasia,' Disney, 1991, 14.2 million.
6. 'Pinocchio,' Disney, 1993, 13.4 million.
7. 'Home Alone,' Fox, 1991, 11 million.
8. 'Batman,' Warner, 1989, 10.5 million.
9. 'The Little Mermaid,' Disney, 1990, 10 million.
10. 'The Jungle Book,' Disney, 1991, 9.5 million.