Homevid release is outgrossing Gibson's 'Passion'

The top-selling homevideo title of the year so far is one that didn’t even play in movie theaters — Disney’s “The Lion King 1½.”

The second sequel to the biggest-selling movie of all time has sold 6 million VHS and DVD copies in its first three weeks of release in North America, per Disney’s Buena Vista Home Entertainment.

Consumers have spent more money buying and renting the title — more than $130 million — than they spent on theater tickets during the first week of release for the mega-hyped “The Passion of the Christ.”

“Lion King 1½,” which Pixar topper Steve Jobs recently called “pretty embarrassing” right after Jobs severed Pixar’s partnership with Disney last month, generated $55 million in consumer spending in the first three days of release Feb. 10-12.

About 2.5 million of the overall 3.1 million units sold before the first weekend were on DVD.

It’s still a long way from the record 14 million copies sold of “The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride,” which generated nearly $300 million in sales on VHS alone.

But “LK1½” has set a record for the most DVD copies ever purchased of a movie produced exclusively for homevideo, surpassing last year’s “Stitch! The Movie,” which saw about 3.3 million of its overall 4.1 million copies being purchased on DVD.

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