Disney's Pinocchio to Arrive October 26

Fans of Disney's animated films are about to finally get what they've been asking for this past year. Nine films are scheduled for release on DVD, starting October 26 with Pinocchio—which was also the studio's first animated classic to be released on video, back in 1985. Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Disney's home-video division, will release the remaining eight features on DVD over the next four months as part of what the company calls a "once-in-a-millennium celebration."

There's only one catch: As announced last week by Richard Cook, chairman of the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group, each of the titles will be available only for a limited 60-day period, and most of the offerings will then be placed on moratorium for up to 10 years. But the good news is that all the DVD releases will be presented in their original theatrical aspect ratios and in Dolby Digital or Dolby Surround sound. Foreign-language supplemental tracks will also be included on all nine titles.

Disney says that 101 Dalmatians, Hercules, and Mulan are scheduled for release November 11. Lady and the Tramp, Peter Pan, and Simba's Pride (Lion King II) will be released November 23, and The Jungle Book and The Little Mermaid will be available starting December 7. The company also states that each disc will prominently feature full-color character artwork screened directly onto the top of the discs to assist even the youngest viewers in using them correctly with the picture side up.

Cook says that "with nearly 15 million households expected to have a set-top DVD player or a computer capable of playing DVDs by the end of the year, we think this is a great time to offer these animated classics on DVD and a great way to mark the millennium. This year, A Bug's Life became the second-best-selling title, behind Armageddon, and dramatically demonstrated the growth of the family fare for the broadening DVD market."