20 million 'Lion King' videos sold


Who's the king of the local video jungle? "The Lion King."

A week after its release, the videocassette of the hit Disney movie has set national sales records, but it remains in stock at Baltimore-area outlets.

An informal survey yesterday of a variety of stores showed that sales have been brisk since last Tuesday -- and even before, at outlets that had a pre-release order promotion, such as Blockbuster and West Coast Video stores.

But most places contacted had the video in ample stock, at prices ranging from $15.95 to $18.99.

Burbank, Calif.-based Walt Disney Co. announced Monday that it had sold 20 million copies of "The Lion King" in its first four days in stores, totaling some $350 million in sales. First-day sales alone outsold release-day sales of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "Aladdin" and "Beauty and the Beast" combined. The firm called these the three best-selling videotapes of all time.

Two manufacturing plants of Disney's Buena Vista Home Video division, in Camarillo, Calif., and Livonia, Mich., are producing up to 600,000 copies daily.

"Thank goodness they keep bringing it in all the time," said Mike Scott, video manager at the Caldor outlet at Chatham Mall in Ellicott City. He estimated that 300 to 350 copies were sold in the first week.

"People are just impulse-buying them at the displays near the registers," said lead clerk Jenn Baron at Borders Books & Music in Towson.

"We've gotten low, but we haven't had any trouble keeping up," said Don Mako, manager of a Blockbuster store in Pikesville.

Clerk Rosea Jones, at a West Coast Video store on Reisterstown Road in northwest Baltimore, said the store's first 24 copies were sold in a half-day Tuesday, and the store was out of copies for several days. "People were asking for it for more than a month," she said.

And at the Price Costco warehouse discount store in Glen Burnie, manager Dwayne Winterbottom said the video has been selling by the pallet-load.

In the usual Disney marketing plan, "The Lion King" video will be available only through the end of the year.

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