Casper Putting A Scare Into Cinderella

One of the most interesting battles in the homevid arena this year is between MCA/Universal Home Video and Walt Disney. Last year, the two studios competed with the two biggest-selling vids of all time, “Jurassic Park” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, ” respectively; this year, MCA appears to be leading the sales as retailers suggest that “Casper” is outselling “Cinderella.” –

Sources say “Casper” will likely sell more than 8.5 million copies. “Cinderella” has sold 8 million units since its Oct. 4 bow. But while the studio is projecting 16 million copies, retailers assert the final tally will come closer to 10 million.

Disney shipped more than 15 million copies of the latter into 5 o the marketplace, but retail sources say “Cinderella” is selling less than projected and reorders aren’t likely, because the vid is tracking below most buyers’ expectations.

Sources say Buena Vista Home Video’s fourth-quarter goals are around 16 million copies for “Cinderella, ” quite a contrast to the nearly 30 million goal set last year for “Snow White.” The studio also hopes more than 4 million copies of “The Santa Clause, ” starring Tim Allen, find their way into consumers’ hands.

But most retailers said they have placed reorders on “Casper, ” with many chains reporting a brisk selloff rate.

“‘ Casper’ has done really well for us, ” says John Thrasher, veep of Tower Records & Video. “It’s outperformed ‘ Cinderella, ‘ but we expected that.”

Thrasher says he expects “Apollo 13, ” which was released to video Nov. 21, to come on very strong in the final selling days before Christmas.

“It’s been slow, but business is slowly picking up, ” says Megan Lutz, head of operations for the Video Adventure store chain.” ‘ Cinderella’ and ‘ Casper’ are doing well, as is the ‘ Star Wars’ trilogy. But it’s not as good as last year. Our business is off, just like the entire industry.”

Buena Vista execs say “Cinderella” is performing as well as “Pinocchio, ” which bowed for a second time in 1993 and has sold 13.4 million copies.

And by selling 7 million copies in the first two weeks, “Cinderella, ” moved about 50% of its initial shipment and bested the vid’s sales total when it was first released in 1988.