Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Alice" Banned from Certain European Cinemas?

Following the announcement that Walt Disney Picture's wants to shorten the theatrical run of Alice in Wonderland in favor of an earlier home entertainment release, several cinema chains in Europe are threatening to boycott showing the film at all. This is particularly so in the UK and the Netherlands. Some Italian theater chains are also considering similar action.

Walt Disney Pictures is one of several studios that are experimenting with shorter theatrical runs and earlier home entertainment releases of upcoming films, in response to declining DVD sales. Disney said it intended to release the Alice DVD and Blu-ray about three months after the movie appears in theaters, compared with the typical four- to six-month window.

But theater owners, especially in Europe, fear that the decision may dissuade consumers from going to cinemas.

No U.S. theater chains have threatened a boycott yet, although same may pull Alice from screens as soon as the movie is available in various home entertainment formats.

"I'm getting e-mails from my colleagues all across Europe and everyone says ... this is one step too far," said Ad Weststrate, president of the International Union of Cinemas in Europe. "The guys are really fanatic now."

Some European exhibitionists have also complained that Disney had not consulted with them until very recently (unlike their American counterparts).

"It was represented like 'take it or leave,' " said one high-level European exhibition executive who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of discussions. "It was done brutally."

Vue Entertainment Ltd. and Odeon Cinemas, two of the U.K.'s three major cinema chains, currently don't plan to show the film in their theaters, two people familiar with the matter said, although talks remain ongoing.

Britain is the second-largest international market for American movies after Japan, but its potential for Alice is even larger, given that the movie, which cost about $150 million to produce, given that it is based on a British series of books and featuring a largely British cast and crew.

"Anything that would prevent maximizing Alice for the U.K. would be horrible," said Joe Roth, a producer of the film. "This would be one of the biggest pictures of the year in the U.K. But I honestly think this will be worked out."

Despite the dispute, Odeon will still host the "Royal World Premiere" of Alice at its flagship theater in London's Leicester Square next Thursday.


Jack said...

what a pickle. that is exciting that it would be released three months after it comes out in theaters. but honestly i think it would be better in the long run if they waited longer, if thats what they want over there. that way burton can make more money :)

Cameron McEwan said...

CINEWORLD will be showing the film in the UK:

emily said...

I agree Jack, they should make it longer but it would be nice to have the dvd so soon, but if you think about it, it really dosnt matter because most people just burn the movie anyway instead of going to the theater. Maybe if they made the prices a little lower and more affordable to go see it many times, they would do better, because you know how people love to buy candy and soda. (And i dont know about most places but here its still pretty expencive for snacks and soft drinks) I think that they should make it shorter but not as short as 3 months, but six months is just rediculous if you think about it, within 2 weeks its usually out of theaters and thats when small theaters pick up afterwards (for example our hometown theater, the strand)

But I am all for supporting Tim Burton and his buddy Johnny Depp. :) I just wish there was a fan site for tim burton so that his supporters could tell him how much he inspires his fans. :)