DISNEY TO DRAW ON STRONG '96 SLATE

BURBANK, Calif. -- Buena Vista Home Video's 1996 slate will be one of the strongest it's ever offered, according to Dennis Rice, senior vice president of marketing."It's one of the best product offerings that we've had," said Rice. Buena Vista Home Video here is the video marketing, sales and distribution company for Walt Disney Co.Following on the heels of the Feb. 28 video release of "Pocahontas,"

BURBANK, Calif. -- Buena Vista Home Video's 1996 slate will be one of the strongest it's ever offered, according to Dennis Rice, senior vice president of marketing.

"It's one of the best product offerings that we've had," said Rice. Buena Vista Home Video here is the video marketing, sales and distribution company for Walt Disney Co.

Following on the heels of the Feb. 28 video release of "Pocahontas," BVHV will offer "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" March 27. "Pooh" will have a suggested retail price of $26.99. Prebook is Feb. 13. "Pocahontas" will have a $26.99 SRP. Prebook is Jan. 16.

" 'Winnie the Pooh' and 'Pocahontas' in the first quarter are two of our biggest offerings," Rice said.

Rice said it's hard to predict which, if any, of BVHV's 1996 titles will top the tremendous success of "The Lion King," but he said next year's first-quarter releases will be "one of the most aggressive programs we've ever had." "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh," Walt Disney's 22nd animated production, made its theatrical debut in 1977. The restored re-release of the title will include footage of how the movie was made, how it came to its theatrical release, and interviews with some of the people whose voices are behind it.

"It's never been released in the form that we have it now," Rice said. "This will add to its collectibility." "Pooh" will be offered with a $5 mail-in rebate to consumers who purchase the title along with any other title in BVHV's "Masterpiece Collection," which includes "Pocahontas," "Cinderella," "The Lion King," "Alice in Wonderland," "Dumbo" and "Robin Hood." "It's a tremendous franchise that the entire company has done a great amount of licensed merchandise on."

The "Pooh" franchise consists of about 50 licensed merchandise manufacturers, and more than 5,000 products. Buena Vista's promotional tie-in program will be with many of those products, Rice said. "It could turn out to be one of the largest, if not the largest, tie-in promotions that will be done for an animated classic," Rice said. Rice declined to elaborate on the specifics of the marketing program, but said it will accommodate supermarkets.

"Our point-of-sale material will take on a lot of different shapes and sizes designed to meet the needs of grocery stores as well as other distribution channels," he said. Buena Vista will release "The Big Green" and "A Kid in King Arthur's Court" Jan. 31. Each will sell at a suggested retail of $19.99, with a minimum advertised price of $12.95. The prebook date was Dec. 9, 1995. The videos will be teamed with a $6 mail-in rebate, the largest rebate ever offered by Disney on live-action titles. To receive the rebate, consumers can mail in a rebate form found inside the video and video proof-of-purchases dated between Jan. 30 and April 30, 1996. The rebate will be given on purchases of "The Big Green" or "A Kid in King Arthur's Court," plus any $19.99 Walt Disney Family Film Collection title, "Angels in the Outfield," "Cool Runnings," "The Santa Clause" or "The Three Musketeers."

Another large promotion will be the launch of "Timon & Pumbaa," a new video line from Walt Disney Home Video that will debut with three volumes featuring three episodes each. The volumes, which feature two characters from "The Lion King," are "Hangin' With Baby," "Grub's On" and "True Guts." Each volume will sell at a suggested retail price of $12.99. Prebook date is Dec. 19, 1995. The title will be available in 12-, 24- and 48-piece prepacks. BVHV is also preparing for a large Valentine's Day lineup, with a "Disney Valentine Collection" that includes eight Valentine-themed titles from Walt Disney, Jim Henson and Buena Vista. The titles include "Aladdin and Jasmine's Moonlight Magic," "Mickey Loves Minnie," "Winnie the Pooh: Un-Valentine's Day," and "Ariel's Undersea Adventures: Whale of a Tale." The promotion will be launched Jan. 10, 1996. The prebook date was Dec. 5.