Odeon Cinema Boycotts 'Alice in Wonderland' in Disney Dispute
The Odeon cinema chain in the UK is boycotting Disney's Alice in Wonderland over a studio-mandated 12-week maximum run. Basically, Odeon had committed to purchasing 3D projection equipment with an eye on being able to show the much-hyped Johnny Depp film for more than twelve weeks. However, Disney wants to limit the cinema run of Alice in Wonderland so they can sell more DVDs by releasing it on the ancillary market hot on the heels of the cinema release. (Alice in Wonderland will still premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square on February 25)
Disney had tried to pull this stunt with Up, but cinemas threatened to simply drop the film, along with A Christmas Carol, and so The Mouse had to relent. Vue has joined Odeon in the boycott, but Cineworld has given in to Disney pressure. Still, this means that Alice in Wonderland will not be shown in 40% of UK cinemas.
Cineworld, a third British cinema chain, has angered rivals by refusing to join the boycott after a visit from Bob Chapek, Disney’s president of distribution, who reassured it that Disney wished to shorten the window for only two or three films a year. The DVD release for Alice was extended to 13 weeks.
Odeon issued a tart response, saying that it was dropping plans to show Alice “as a result of Disney’s insistence on reducing at short notice the theatrical window on a major 3D title
Disney said the plan, which would allow it to release the film on DVD at the end of May, was an isolated one-off.
But Odeon claimed it would "set a new benchmark, leading to a 12-week window becoming rapidly standard".