We expected Disney(NYSE: DIS) and Pixar(Nasdaq: PIXR) to swing for the fence with Tuesday's release of Monsters, Inc. to the home-video and DVD market.

The all-time second-highest grossing animated theatrical release, starring Billy Crystal and John Goodman, captured both the child and adult audience with its eclectic tale of monsters who frighten children to power their town with screams. But who would've expected the computer-rendered Oscar nominee to set a new record with five million units sold on its first day?

A lot of people. With DVD players selling briskly, it's a wide open market for film entertainment companies. The Consumer Electronics Association reports that 8 million DVD players have been sold stateside so far this year, bringing the format's cumulative sales to the 35 million mark.

But why should this matter? Aren't DVD disc sales simply replacing units that would've otherwise been sold on the tape-based VHS format? Not exactly. The average DVD owner bought 15 discs last year. That's twice as many movies as the typical VCR owner. And Monsters, Inc. is a DVD goldmine. It's a two-disc set with a playground full of bonus candy that finds the second disc running more than twice as long as the movie itself.

It's also animated. That seems to matter, as kids love to subject themselves to repeat viewings of the same subject matter. Although that may be a sore spot for AOL Time Warner(NYSE: AOL), who was banking on its Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings releases to set new records. Alas, Frodo, it was not to be.