U.K. Odeon Chain Threatens ‘Alice’ Boycott

Along with rival chain Vue, protests Disney’s decision to push up film’s DVD release

Last Updated: February 22, 2010 @ 5:02 PM

U.K. Cinema chain Odeon says it will boycott Disney’s Tim Burton-directed 3D version of “Alice in Wonderland” over concerns about the film’s shortened release window.

Disney has sought to bump up the movie’s DVD release from 17 weeks to 12 weeks following its theatrical debut in the U.K.

Odeon’s rival Cineworld reportedly backed off its boycott threat after Disney distribution chief Bob Chapek flew to Britain and assured chain executives that the shortened window would only apply to a couple of releases a year. Another major U.K. exhibitor is also close to backing off its boycott threat.

A Disney official, speaking anonymously because he isn’t authorized to comment on the matter, said a boycott of the film is far from certain, and that negotiations with the U.K. chains remain ongoing.

The three U.K. exhibitor companies combined control about 95 percent of Britain’s 3D theatrical market. Odeon is the region’s largest chain, operating 834 screens in 108 cinemas across the U.K., Scotland and Ireland.

“Alice in Wonderland” is set for a worldwide premiere on Thursday and to officially debut in theaters globally on March 5.