LONG LEAD TIME ON 'TOY STORY' CALLED A GOOD PLAY

NEW YORK -- Supermarkets will benefit from the lead time that has been given on the video sell-through release of Disney's "Toy Story," several retailers told SN.me any studio has given a major sell-through release, and retailers contacted by SN were appreciative. "It is good for us, because we can start planning a little bit out in the future," said Sharon Stagner, merchandising coordinator at Seaway

NEW YORK -- Supermarkets will benefit from the lead time that has been given on the video sell-through release of Disney's "Toy Story," several retailers told SN.

me any studio has given a major sell-through release, and retailers contacted by SN were appreciative. "It is good for us, because we can start planning a little bit out in the future," said Sharon Stagner, merchandising coordinator at Seaway Food Town, Maumee, Ohio.

But now Disney has to follow up in a timely manner with other marketing support, noted Kirk Mueldener, video distribution manager for Hy-Vee Food Stores, West Des Moines, Iowa. "They've been struggling with that lately," he said. "They could tell me it is coming out a year from now, but if I can't get the ad slicks, sell sheets, tie-in partner information and all that, it doesn't mean anything," he said. The release date was officially announced by Ann Daly, president of Buena Vista Home Video, Burbank, Calif., at the American International Toy Fair, held here Feb. 12 to 19.

Retailers agreed that this was going to be a big title for them. "I have nothing but high hopes for it. I think it is going to do fantastically," said Mueldener. "With the success of the movie, it should generate a lot of business," said Bill Glaseman, video specialist at Bashas' Markets, Chandler, Ariz. "I anticipate not only good sales, but very good rentals," he said. The title, a $180 million box office hit, will benefit from the marketing support of five cross-promotional partners and over 50 licensees, according to Daly of Buena Vista. There will be three times the number of "Toy Story" products as are available now.

The promotional partners will include General Mills, Eastman Kodak and a quick-service restaurant. Industry sources expect the restaurant to be Burger King, which participated in the theatrical release of "Toy Story." Spending on the marketing campaign by all partners, including Disney, will be more than $100 million, Daly said. The campaign will be the biggest one ever for Buena Vista Home Video, Disney's video marketing, sales and distribution subsidiary.

The studio hopes to sell over 20 million units of "Toy Story" to make it one of the top five sell-throughs of all time, according to Daly. No. 1 is "The Lion King," of which Disney sold more than 30 million units last year.

Other details about the video release, such as the suggested retail price and specifics of the marketing campaign, will be announced at a later date.