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Disney drops "Little Mermaid" re-release as 3D sales disappoint

(Reuters) - Walt Disney canceled plans for a 3D version of its 1989 animated hit "The Little Mermaid" after disappointing re-releases of "Monsters, Inc" and "Beauty and the Beast" in the format.

The film was the last of four releases for which Disney announced plans to convert some of its animated films after "The Lion King" generated domestic ticket sales of $94 million in 2011. "Monsters, Inc, its most recent film converted to 3D, had domestic ticket sales of only $30.6 million, according to the site Box Office Mojo.

Disney began 3D conversion of the underwater animated film in November, animated studio chief John Lasseter, said in interviews in November. Conversion of existing films to 3D are considered generally inexpensive and are viewed by Disney as generating publicity to boost the DVD sales of older films.

Disney said will release a fifth "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie on July 10, 2015, the studio said in an email announcing its revised release schedule.

The company said it would release two of its Marvel big-budget films in 3D next year: "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and "Guardians of the Galaxy."

(Reporting By Ronald Grover. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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