Exhibitors Back Down Over Alice In Wonderland Boycott
The U.K. theater chain Odeon and America's own AMC got a lot of attention when they threatened to boycott Alice in Wonderland, in retaliation for Disney's decision to shorten the movie's theatrical run in order to pump up DVD sales.
But when it's a theater chain vs. The Mouse, apparently it's the theaters who must blink. Variety is reporting that both Odeon and AMC have backed down, and will carry the film when it opens on March 5 in both countries. The details of the deal weren't disclosed, but apparently Disney agreed not to start marketing the movie's DVD release until 6 to 8 weeks after the theatrical premiere. Still, even that seems bizarre-- it would be like seeing ads now for The Book of Eli's DVD bow. Avatar, by this measure, would be on DVD in two weeks.
Of course, all this will be even more hilarious if Alice turns out to be a flop, and 12 weeks from now theater exhibitors would rather do anything than have that turkey on their screens. Next month we'll be hanging with a lot of those guys at ShoWest, a few weeks after Alice's debut, so it will be interesting to gauge the responses there. This is just one skirmish in what's likely to be an ongoing battle between studios and exhibitors in a effort to milk some money out of the dying DVD market. Sadly, this isn't even close to over.
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