''Lion King'' sets new records with DVD release. In its first week, it's the best-selling reissue of a film already out on home video

By Gary Susman
Updated October 13, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: The Lion King: Disney
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The circle of life is neverending. Just ask the folks at Disney, who keep finding new (and lucrative) life in ”The Lion King.” The movie set records at the box office and on home video 10 years ago, and it looks to do the same in the wake of last week’s DVD release. Though first-week sales numbers won’t be available until Tuesday, Disney is reporting that the title sold 3 million copies in its first two days of release, a record for a reissue of a film already out on home video.

The 1994 release earned $328 million at the U.S. box office to become the highest-grossing animated film of all time until Disney’s ”Finding Nemo” surpassed it this year, having earned $337 million to date. During its initial video release later that year, it set a first-week sales record of 20 million copies, selling 32 million overall to become the top-selling VHS title of all time.

The new special edition DVD, of course, has features that the VHS tape lacked, including a previously unreleased Elton John/Tim Rice song (”Morning Report”), new animated footage, audio and visual upgrades, and a virtual safari in 5.1 Surround Sound. Still, it’s not clear how long ”Lion King” will remain leader of the pack. It faces several eagerly awaited DVD titles this fall, including ”The Matrix Reloaded,” the special edition of ”The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers,” the Indiana Jones series, Al Pacino’s ”Scarface,” and of course, ”Finding Nemo.”

The Lion King

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