Will ‘Snow White’ Dwarf Other Videos? : Home entertainment: Reversing policy, Disney will allow classic animated film to go on sale.


Walt Disney Co., which once vowed it would never release its classic film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” on home video, said Tuesday it will do just that.

Disney said it will release the animated feature--the last video holdout in its library--for a limited period this fall, in time for the holiday shopping season.

Executives of the Burbank firm maintained in the past that they would not release “Snow White” in home video for fear such a move would jeopardize the value of the film in theatrical exhibition. Disney has released “Snow White” nine times since it premiered in 1937, taking in an estimated $700 million at the box office.


“What we have found over the last 10 years is that the value of these movies has not at all been diminished by their release into home video,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, president of Walt Disney Studios. “It’s frankly taken a long time where we feel comfortable taking out the crown jewel.”

Over the last several years, Disney has recycled films such as “Pinocchio” through the theatrical and home video markets without apparent detriment. “Pinocchio” was first released on home video in 1985, subsequently re-released in the movie theaters a couple of years later and currently is available on home video until April.

“It’s quite clear from testing the waters with ‘Aladdin,’ ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Pinocchio’ that this kind of release can unleash tremendous profits for them,” said Harold Vogel, an entertainment analyst at Merril Lynch. “There’s no reason to sit on it.”

However, Vogel also suggested that among the factors motivating Disney to release “Snow White” now for home viewing are the financial problems of its Euro Disney theme park.

“That situation is not pleasant for them to go through, and this may be one way of offsetting any future problems in reinvesting in Euro Disney,” Vogel said.

Disney made the “Snow White” announcement at its annual shareholders’ meeting at Disney World in Orlando, Fla.


At the meeting, Disney officials said 1994 is shaping up as an “even better year” than 1993. The company did not quarrel with analyst estimates that Disney will earn more than $2 per share this year, compared to $1.63 last year.

Revenue from “Snow White” could surpass the home video release last year of “Aladdin,” which to date has sold more than 24 million units.

Disney also announced that it reached an agreement with Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan to produce a TV movie based on her life and an ice skating special in which she will star.