Bambi II DVD Rolls in the Doe

Sixty-four years after David Hand’s beautifully animated feature introduced moviegoers to Bambi, Thumper and Flower, a sequel to the classic Disney gem is doing amazing business on DVD. Buena Vista Home Entertainment’s direct-do-DVD sequel Bambi II sold over 2.5 million DVDs and videos during its first week in stores, the studio reported yesterday.

Directed by Brian Pimental, Bambi II follows the adventures of the young deer (voiced by Alex Gould) as he learns life lessons from his father (a perfectly cast Patrick Stewart). Pimental, a first-time director, is a Disney studio veteran, who has worked on features such as Tarzan, A Goofy Movie and The Little Mermaid.

The Mouse House takes great proud in comparing Bambi II‘s first-day-of-release numbers (800,000 units) to those of the Oscar-nominated DreamWorks/Aardman feature Wallace & Gromit The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, which apparently were in the 400,000 ballpark.

‘Our research indicated that consumers were very excited about this film,’ Bob Chapek, president of Buena Vista Home Entertainment told The Hollywood Reporter. ‘But no amount of research could have ever predicted this type of overwhelming response. As a result, we are working diligently to keep retail stores in stock.”

The studio’s savvy marketing of the pic, paired with its policy to offer the title only for a limited time bracket (70 days) has fueled interest in the Disney Toon Studios project. A ten-minute preview of the movie was also made available online.The division’s president Sharon Morrill told Variety, ‘You can talk about marketing and strategy, but you need good stories,” she said.

Disney has had great success with its direct-to-DVD sequels to many of its classic features, including Aladdin II, The Lion King II, Tarzan II and Lilo & Stitch 2. The 2D studio’s future has been a question mark since news of the Disney/Pixar merger broke last month. Bambi II was released theatrically outside the U.S.