European Theaters Boycott Alice

Disney has moved up the DVD release date for Alice in Wonderland to a full five weeks earlier than its normal schedule, angering Europe’s top movie theater chain in the process. Odeon & UCI Cinemas group, which operates 132 theaters across Europe, says it has no plans to play the Johnny Depp film for fears that moviegoers will skip the big screen in favor of an earlier DVD release. Analysts say that Disney’s decision is part of its long-term plan to decrease reliance on cinemas and increase its DVD, Blu-ray, and online distribution revenues. DVDs used to be released six months after a film’s theatrical opening, but studios have been quietly hacking away at that period. Disney’s plan shrinks the wait to 12 weeks. Stateside, negotiations are still continuing between Disney and AMC, leaving 4,500 screens up in the air. Analysts don’t foresee a protest from AMC or other top US theater chains, because the movie is expected to be the year’s first mega blockbuster release.