Another of Walt Disney's animated classics, "Peter Pan," comes to home video Friday. Not to be confused with the stage production with live actors, this is the animated version in which Peter Pan is a boy who flies without wings and is forever 12 years old.
The film, however, is 37 years old. It was originally released in 1953 and re-issued in theaters five more times, posting a cumulative box-office gross of $375 million in current dollar value.
The Disney folks like to note that this version conveys Tinker Bell as impish and Peter Pan as a boy, as intended by the author, and that animation is more suitable to exhibit flight and to enhance other detail such as swimming mermaids and a crocodile with a ticking clock inside him.
Peter Pan, 76 minutes and closed captioned for hearing impaired, is being released at a list price of $24.99. A tie-in with The Nabisco Biscuit Compny offers a $5 rebate.
The success of Disney's super-special fall releases has been mind-boggling, and "Peter Pan" sales numbers are expected to fly off to Never-Never Land as Peter Pan does with Wendy, John and Michael in the timeless James Barrie fantasy.
Disney's last three "specials" are among the nine best-selling videos of all time, according to the annual tabulation of Vidmar Communications. Last year, "Bambi" sold 8.5 million cassettes to settle in the No. 3 spot behind "E.T." and "Batman." In 1988, "Cinderella" sold 7.5 million and is listed as No. 5. "Lady and The Tramp," released in 1987, sold 3.2 million and is No. 9.
In all, Disney cassettes occupy nine of the top 24 spots on the list. Those numbers are even more remarkable because Disney feature releases are not left in the marketplace. Released in the fall, they are cleared from the shelves on April 30 and returned to the studio vaults.
Disney has also recently released the movie "Cheetah" ($89.95, 83 minutes), an action/adventure story shot on location in Kenya with its message about the preservation of the near-extinct cheetah. The story of an unusual friendship in the wilds of Africa stars Keith Coogan and Lucy Deakins, a couple of vacationing California teenagers who cross the vast Kenyan desert to save an orphaned cub.