Disney's 13-year-old box-office flop, "The Black Cauldron," is the top-selling videotape right now. No. 2 is "The Spirit of Mickey," a collection of old Mickey Mouse cartoons.
The Disney recycling machine continues with a reissue of "Lady and the Tramp," available Sept. 15 in its original CinemaScope form, and "Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World," a straight-to-video sequel that makes its debut Sept. 1. Both are priced at $27.
The "Pocahontas" sequel reunites much of the vocal cast from the 1995 original -- Irene Bedard, Linda Hunt, Russell Means, David Ogden Stiers -- while substituting Donal Gibson for his brother, Mel, in the role of John Smith. But the animation was farmed out to Canadian and Japanese artists, and the songs, originally the work of Stephen Schwartz and Alan Menken, are by a different team, Larry Grossman and Marty Panzer.
There's nothing here to match the previous film's lyrical visuals or its hit song, "Colors of the Wind," although Grossman and Panzer's "Where Do I Go From Here?" is catchy and it helps advance the narrative. "Pocahontas" had more reason than most cartoons to spawn a sequel, partly because the Indian girl's story continued with her visit to England and her marriage to a colonist, John Rolfe (voice by "Titanic's" villain, Billy Zane).
Unfortunately, the filmmakers have chosen to fictionalize the material so thoroughly that Pocahontas' real fate (she died of smallpox in England) is sacrificed for a melodramatic by-the-numbers plot. The chief distinction of the film ends up being Zane, whose inimitable husky voice is used this time for a duet with Pocahontas, "Between Two Worlds."
Disney has stopped making straight-to-video "Aladdin" sequels, but that hasn't discouraged Trimark Home Video from turning out "A Kid in Aladdin's Palace" ($15), a campy live-action variation on the Arabian Nights franchise. Taylor Negron plays the wisecracking genie this time.
Sony Wonder's "Enchanted Tales" series usually comes up with a Disney imitation around this time of year. But its major 1998 release is "A Tale of Egypt" ($10), a 48-minute cartoon about Moses that anticipates DreamWorks' year-end epic, "Prince of Egypt." Both films use animation to present the same story Cecil B. DeMille told 42 years ago in the four-hour-long "Ten Commandments."
Also bypassing theaters this month:
"Summer Fling." Christina Ricci, the star of a couple of this summer's better theatrical films, "Buffalo 66" and "The Opposite of Sex," turns up in this Gabriel Byrne production, which was originally promised for theatrical release under a different title, "The Last of the High Kings." It's a coming-of-age story set in 1977. Jared Leto is the teen-age hero, Catherine O'Hara and Byrne play his parents, and Stephen Rea and Colm Meaney have cameo roles.
"The Prince." Billy Dee Williams stars as the deceptive central character in Pinchas Perry's loose, updated version of Machiavelli's book. Michael Riley plays his latest disciple in an attempt to take over a toy company. The soundtrack is by Dionne Warwick and Lou Rawls.
"The Proposition." An all-star cast can't save this bodice ripper about a sterile 1930s Boston attorney (William Hurt), his frustrated wife (Madeleine Stowe), a mysterious priest (Kenneth Branagh) and a young law student (Neil Patrick Harris) who is recruited to impregnate her. Blythe Danner and Robert Loggia are also in the cast.
"Sub Down." The ubiquitous Alan Smithee directed this nuclear-submarine adventure starring Stephen Baldwin and Gabrielle Anwar as research scientists.
"End of Summer." A turn-of-the-century story starring Jacqueline Bisset as a spinster who spends the summer at a seaside resort. Peter Weller plays a visiting millionaire, and Julian Sands is a social-climbing minister.
"Uncle Sam." Larry Cohen directed this horror movie starring Isaac Hayes, Timothy Bottoms, Bo Hopkins, P.J. Sole and "Jackie Brown" Oscar nominee Robert Forster.
"The Substitute 2: School's Out." Treat Williams plays a vengeful high-school teacher in this follow-up to Tom Berenger's 1996 movie.
"Femalien 2: The Search For Kara." Another sequel, about a beautiful alien who decides to stay on Earth even though she hasn't been cleared by her home planet for an extended stay.
"Clockmaker." Science-fiction thriller about a 14-year-old boy who discovers that one old man controls time for the entire world.
"Talisman: Evil Never Dies." Horror film about an evil being who must claim seven human sacrifices to complete a ritual and open the gates of hell.
"Naked Lies." Shannon Tweed plays an FBI agent who accidentally kills an innocent child during a drug bust in this thriller co-starring Steven Bauer and Jay Baker.