'Mermaid' bow creates quite a flap

Disney direct-to-DVD prequel takes No. 1 spot ahead of Fox theatrical hit 'Vegas'

Hollywood's infatuation with movies made directly for DVD release continues to pay off.

Disney Home Entertainment topped the national sales chart for the week ending Aug. 31 with the direct-to-video sequel "The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning," even though the title was up against the $80 million theatrical hit "What Happens in Vegas."

"Vegas," from Fox, debuted at No. 2 on the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert sales chart. It sold about 60% as many copies as "Mermaid."

The success of "Mermaid" comes in the wake of several other strong sales showings by DTV titles, including Universal's "The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior," which debuted at No. 4 on the sales chart the previous week after selling more than 1 million DVDs and Blu-ray Discs in its first six days in stores.

Another nontheatrical release, the second-season set of NBC's "Heroes," from Universal, bowed at No. 3 on the home video sales chart for the week ending Aug. 31. Disney's new collector's edition of "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas" debuted at No. 4, while the previous week's top seller, "Camp Rock," slipped to No. 5.

On Home Media Magazine's video rental chart for the week, "Vegas" debuted at No. 1, bumping the previous week's top renter, Fox's "Street Kings," to No. 2.

On the Blu-ray chart, the sales crown went to "Nightmare," with Season 2 of "Heroes" a strong No. 2 and "Vegas" at No. 3. (partialdiff)