UK movie chain boycotts ‘Alice’ in DVD dispute

British movie theater chain Odeon will not show Tim Burton’sfantasy adventure “Alice in Wonderland” in Britain, Ireland andItaly because of a dispute over the timing of the film’s DVDrelease, the company said Tuesday.

Odeon objects to Walt Disney Pictures’ decision to leave only 12weeks between the film’s theatrical and DVD releases in thosecountries, rather than the usual 17 weeks.

Odeon said it had invested “considerable sums of money” indigital projection equipment to show 3D films, and a shorter windowto screen films would undermine its investment.

The company said it feared Disney’s proposals would “inevitablyset a new benchmark” and a 12-week gap would become common.

Disney said it wants the shorter window in part to fight piracy,but does not plan to introduce it for every film.

“We have to approach this with some sort of flexibility,” aspokesman said on condition of anonymity in keeping with Britishcorporate policy. “In a digital world, it is increasingly hard tosay 17-week windows work in every case in every market in what is avery delicate commercial ecosystem.”

Odeon is one of Europe’s largest cinema chains, with 110 Odeonand UCI-branded theaters in Britain. Its screens in Germany,Austria, Spain and Portugal will show “Alice in Wonderland” becausethere is a longer gap between theatrical and DVD release.

Other cinema chains in Britain have expressed disquiet aboutDisney’s move, but so far none has said it will not show themovie.

The Vue chain said Tuesday it would show the movie in its 69cinemas in Britain and Ireland. the Cineworld chain said last weekit had reached a “satisfactory compromise” with Disney and wouldshow “Alice in Wonderland” on more than 150 screens in Britain.

Burton’s 3D movie stars Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway and HelenaBonham Carter. it has its world premiere in London on Thursday andopens in Britain and the United States on March 5.

UK movie chain boycotts ‘Alice’ in DVD dispute

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