The Walt Disney Co. hopes to repeat the success of "Fantasia," its home-video hit last year, by releasing "Beauty and the Beast" to the home-video market on Oct. 30, the company said earlier this week.
In a statement, Disney said it expects "Beauty" to sell better than "Fantasia," the classic Disney animated movie that has sold a record 14.2 million video units.
"Fantasia," first released in movie theaters in 1940, was the single biggest contributor to Disney's profit growth during its first business quarter, which ended Dec. 31.
"Beauty and the Beast" is the highest-grossing animated film of all time. The home video cassette of the movie will be priced at $24.99.
"Disney is very bullish on 'Beauty and the Beast,' and I think the company has every reason to be," said Bruce Thorp, an entertainment analyst with Provident National Bank in Philadelphia. "'Beauty' should be a big-profit product."
Disney's stock rose 87 1/2 cents on the news Monday to close at $159 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Plans to release "Beauty and the Beast" on video were announced as part of a planned additional thrust into the video sale market by Buena Vista Home Video, Disney's video distribution arm.
Disney said it believes there will be strong growth in the market for so-called "sell-through" tapes, those priced for sale as opposed to rental.
Disney also disclosed plans to sell other video cassettes from $12.99 to $24.99 this year, including "The Rescuers," another Disney animated movie.