Flesh-eating dinosaurs square off against the housemother of seven diminutive eccentrics this fall at video-rental stores everywhere. Hollywood expects the video releases of MCA/Universal's Jurassic Park and Walt Disney's Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs will generate mind-boggling sales--and outpace the all-time champ, Disney's Aladdin (24 million copies sold since its late-1993 release). Both companies, says David Davis, an analyst with Paul Kagan, have "deep pockets and blockbuster films."
Jurassic Park, with the biggest-ever movie box office ($900 million worldwide), benefits from a monstrous promotional blitz. The Jurassic hype is being billed in the industry as the record for a video: $65 million, including $35 million on TV advertising. There are such tie-ins as Jell-O Jiggler molds in the shape of tiny saurians, courtesy of Kraft General Foods; Jell-O buyers get a $5 rebate on the video. Also hyping the video: McDonald's and Kenner Toys. MCA/Universal Home Video vows that some 98% of the U.S. population will see a dino promo an average of 25 times by Christmas.
Typically closemouthed, Disney won't say what it will spend on Snow White, but it's safe to say: less. Still, the Snow-job won't be shabby. Buyers of Pillsbury and Mattel products also can get a $5 rebate for the video. One big advantage: The movie is a classic beloved by parents.
One possible drawback for Jurassic Park is that it is scary, which could hold down family sales. Yet Snow White, the first animated feature ever, was made way back in 1937 and last year did just a modest $41 million in tickets when it was rereleased on the wide screen.