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‘Snow White’ dwarfs past Disney DVD sales

Release sells record 1 million copies in first 24 hours

Disney’s DVD release of the studio’s first animated feature, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” sold a record 1 million copies in its first 24 hours of release.

That equates to roughly $20 million-$25 million in consumer spending on the 64-year-old movie that has already sold more than 25 million copies on VHS and generated approximately $1 billion in cumulative video and theatrical spending.

Much of the record-setting sales can be attributed to Disney’s higher-than-normal pre-sales on the title at Disney stores and other retailers who began taking orders months ago, according to Robert Chapek, president of Buena Vista Home Entertainment.

Disney has been promoting the title since January’s Super Bowl. Every customer who placed an advance order for “Snow White” received another Disney DVD title for free.

Industry sources say the studio shipped more than 4 million copies of its most elaborate double-disc set ever, approaching Universal Studios’ record initial shipment of 4.5 million units of “The Mummy Returns,” which sold a record 2 million copies in its first week of release.

DVD kickoff

Those are the first of two major releases this month that are only being released on DVD following previous VHS sales. Fox introduces the DVD version of “Star Wars: Episode One — The Phantom Menace” next Tuesday.

Suncoast Motion Picture Co. reported that “Snow White” led the mall retailer’s biggest day of DVD sales of the year Tuesday, making it the bestselling family title so far.

“The Godfather” DVD collection, also released Tuesday, ranked second for the day at Suncoast, which expects it to be the bestselling DVD gift set to date for the chain of 400 stores.

“Snow White” is selling for about $20 compared with about $70 for the five-disc “Godfather” set.

Chapek said the DVD extras along with the aggressive ad campaign and the fact that “Snow White” gets put on a sales moratorium for at least 10 years beginning early next year has helped drive sales.

(Jennifer Netherby is a reporter for Variety sister publication Video Business.)

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