Monday, February 22, 2010

'Alice' Suffering Due to DVD Release Date

Burton's Alice in Wonderland is not your typical movie. This isn't due to the creepy Chesire cat, Helena Bonham Carter's warm pig bellies or aching feet, or even Johnny Depp's make-up job. Of course, these things help, but Disney has decided to cut the time between the film's theatrical release and the DVD release from 17 weeks to only 12 weeks, hoping to boost DVD sales. And that is very out of the ordinary.

Now, this may seem harmless enough, but the theaters around town certainly wouldn't agree. Exhibitors around the world are stating their disapproval of Disney's announcement since it will severely cut into their businesses.

Two exhibitors in the UK, Odeon Cinemas (108 theaters) and Vue Entertainment (68 theaters), have already vowed to boycott the film once it is released on March 5. Odeon recently told Variety that they have "invested considerable sums of money, especially in the U.K., over the past 12 months to install digital projection systems in our cinemas. The proposed reduction in the window on a high-profile 3-D title like Alice in Wonderland undermines the investment made."

But that's not all. AMC Entertainment, one of the largest theater companies in the world with 4,500 screens, has not yet agreed to show Alice in Wonderland in any of their theaters. And, with only two weeks until the film's release, no one is quite sure what will happen. It is believed that AMC and Disney may be in negotiations, since the lack of distribution through the AMC theaters would be a major blow to Alice's box office numbers.

I'm wondering if Disney regrets changing the dates around. It seems like they are taking a lot of heat for just 5 weeks. If I were them, I'd simply push it back. My guess is they'll make more money that way. They may have poorer DVD sales, but at least they'll get back the majority of the world's exhibitors.

Alice in Wonderland is being directed by Tim Burton and comes out in a few weeks on March 5.

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