To Retailers, Disney’s ‘Beast’ Is a Beaut


“Beauty and the Beast,” which came out last week with a $25 price tag, has become a monster seller, exceeding the expectations of Disney Home Video and many retailers.

Disney spokeswoman Dorrit Ragisone said that 7 million copies have been sold in six days--a staggering total. She said it’s selling four times faster than “Fantasia,” which came out last holiday season and wound up as the best-selling video ever--14.2 million.

By the end of the holiday season, look for “Beauty” to top “Fantasia.” Disney won’t reveal figures about orders but some distributors privately speculated that 17 million to 20 million copies of “Beauty” will be shipped to retail outlets in the next few months.


One of the reasons it’s such a big seller is that many non-video stores are discounting it in the $14-$17 range. But if you shop around you might find it even cheaper. Some video-store owners around the country--mainly in the Midwest and the South--have said they’ve seen the tape in grocery stores and drug stores for as little as $10.

Orion Protest?: Orion’s proposed plan to offer “Dances With Wolves” at McDonald’s for less than $10 has angered many video retailers. The word among some distributors and video-store owners is that Blockbuster Video, as a form of protest, is planning to boycott another Orion title, “Article 99,” starring Ray Liotta, which is due out Nov. 18.

If Blockbuster, the nation’s largest retailer, doesn’t buy “Article 99,” then Orion, already financially strapped, would lose at least $1 million, according to one estimate. The plan apparently isn’t yet official. Neither Blockbuster nor Orion executives are talking.

What’s New on Video: Among the new releases:

“Deep Cover” (New Line, no set price). Strong performances by Larry Fishburne as an undercover narcotics cop and Jeff Goldblum as a drug dealer help maintain interest during the confusing plot twists of this unusually violent, sometimes plodding inner-city thriller.

“Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers” (Columbia TriStar, no set price). An inanely executed supernatural thriller based on a daring idea--incestuous mother and son cat-demons (Brian Krause and Alice Krige) preying on pretty young virgins to survive.

“K2” (Paramount, no set price). While climbing the treacherous mountain K2, two buddies (Michael Biehn and Matt Craven) do some serious bonding and soul-searching in this fairly engaging drama, which features spectacular scenery and some genuine cliff-hanging thrills.

“Incident at Oglala” (LIVE, $90). Absorbing documentary, directed by Michael Apted and produced and narrated by Robert Redford, argues convincingly that an innocent man, Leonard Peltier, took the rap for killing FBI agents in a famous South Dakota gun battle.

“Scared Stiff” (Paramount, $20). One of the funniest of the Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis comedies, co-starring Lizabeth Scott and Carmen Miranda, with the zany duo fighting crooks on a Caribbean island.

Upcoming on Video: Schedule changes: The following are coming out a week later than announced--”Far and Away” (Nov. 11), “Prelude to a Kiss” (Dec. 16) and “Housesitter” (Dec. 9).

Just announced: The Eddie Murphy comedy “Boomerang” and “Kafka,” featuring Jeremy Irons, are due out Dec. 22; “Honey, I Blew Up the Kid” on Jan. 6 and “A Stranger Among Us,” starring Melanie Griffith, on Jan. 13. “Man Trouble,” the comedy with Jack Nicholson and Ellen Barkin, is coming Jan. 20.

Also: “City of Joy” and “Encino Man” (Wednesday), “Sister Act” (next Friday), “Alien 3” and “Passed Away” (Nov. 18), “Patriot Games” (Nov. 24) and “Lethal Weapon 3” (Dec. 3).