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Friday, November 10, 2006, 12:00 pm PT (03:00 pm ET)

Disney sells 5 million copies of Pixar's Cars in two days

Walt Disney Co. said Thursday it sold over 5 million DVD copies of Pixar's "Cars" in the first two days it was available for purchase at stores, putting the film on track to be the industry’s top seller in the U.S. during the 2006 calendar year.

The spectacular sales rate emphasizes the commanding lead DVD sales maintain over digital movie copies, which are slowly emerging as an alternative to physical discs through services like Apple Computer's iTunes store.

By comparison, Disney said it sold almost 500,000 digital movie tracks through iTunes since making 75 of its titles available on the service a little less than two months ago. Earlier this week, it added "Cars" to iTunes along with "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," both of which are available as downloads for $12.99.

"We expect to see a holiday boost for Cars merchandise, which has been one of our biggest lines of the year, with retail sales around $1 billion," Disney chief executive Robert Iger told analysts during the company's fiscal fourth quarter conference call on Thursday.

Over 12 million ABC TV downloads via iTunes

Over the last year, approximately 85 million of the entertainment corp's TV shows, movies and short films have been played or downloaded on iTunes, disneychannel.com, and abc.com. In addition, Iger announced that approximately 12 million ABC TV programs have been purchased since October, 2005 via iTunes.

"We have done extremely well on the iTunes platform," he said. "We have launched on two other movie platforms and given some of the announcements that have been made this past week, we believe we will have opportunities to sell movies and television shows on many other new platforms."

Despite beating Wall Street's estimates and doubling profits from the year-ago quarter, shares of Disney fell $1.20 or more than 3.5 percent on Friday amid growth concerns over the 2007 calendar year.