John McElwee's blog Greenbriar Picture Shows always has something interesting about Hollywood film history. He's done a two part entry on Disney's releases in 1959, looking at the films from the point of view of theater owners and box office revenue.
I hadn't remembered that Disney released Sleeping Beauty as a road show. That kind of release meant higher ticket prices and a very slow roll-out. Sleeping Beauty was released in January and didn't make it to North Carolina, where McElwee lived, until August. That's quite a difference from how films are released these days. It may also account for Sleeping Beauty's poor box office performance. The higher prices alienated many theater owners and the slow release dissipated any buzz that Disney created for the film on his TV show.
You can read part 1 here and part 2 here.