This release marks the second visit to DVD for Ariel and friends, which isn't counting the direct-to-video sequel The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, and it won't be the last since we will definitely see a high-definition release sometime in the near future. The movie had also been released on VHS, and recently appears as an online download through Disney's exclusive arrangement with Apple's iTunes service. It has managed to gross more than $211 million worldwide in theaters alone, with home video rentals and sales continuing to milk money from that cash cow.
The Little Mermaid brought Disney's animation arm back from the brink when it was released in 1989, and the success allowed them to continue making movies like Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. I remember working at Walt Disney World in Orlando on "The Voyage of the Little Mermaid," which was a stage show presented in black-light with fluorescent fish appearing to "swim" under the sea.
Parents and kids alike used to cram into the theater to see the show, which basically recreated the whole movie in about ten minutes. While I can't exactly pinpoint what makes the film so popular (if I could, I'd be making movies instead of watching them), I do know that it combines an enjoyable story with likable characters and catchy music. It's hard not to be cheered up when you hear "Under the Sea," or to root for Ariel as she faces off against Ursula even though you know what's going to happen. It managed to recapture the Disney "magic" (which is so hard to define, although you feel like you know what it is when you see it) for me, which hadn't been done since I'd seen The Rescuers in 1977. Holy crap, that's almost 30 years ago. Time for me to go back into suspended animation. Wake me when the Disney vault opens back up for the Platinum version of The Emperor's New Groove.
What animated classics would you like to see out on DVD in special editions?