AMC digging in over Disney’s plans for ‘Alice in Wonderland’

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The protest by movie theater companies against Disney’s plans to accelerate the DVD release for its upcoming 3-D film ‘Alice in Wonderland’ is rippling across the Atlantic.

Disney wants to shorten the window between the movie’s theatrical debut and its DVD release to 12 weeks from 17 weeks, in hopes of boosting DVD sales. But exhibitors fear that this would cut into their business.


Two British theater companies and a majority of cinema operators in the Netherlands have already vowed to boycott ‘Alice’ when it debuts March 5. Now, a major U.S. theater chain may follow the lead of Vue Entertainment and Odeon Cinemas in not carrying the movie.

AMC Entertainment, the nation’s second-largest theater operator, is digging in its heels over the issue. Less than two weeks remain before ‘Alice’s’ release, but the Kansas City, Mo.-based company, which has more than 4,500 screens worldwide, has not yet agreed to screen it, according to three people familiar with the matter.

If AMC refuses to show ‘Alice,’ that would be a major blow to the film’s box-office returns. However, the two sides are expected to reach a compromise that would avert such an outcome -- even if negotiations go down to the wire, sources said.

Representatives of AMC and Disney declined to comment.

Britain’s Cineworld Cinemas announced this week that it would carry ‘Alice.’

-- Richard Verrier and Claudia Eller