It looks like Disney wants to further shorten the window between theatrical and DVD release, and plans to start with the upcoming Tim Burton film Alice in Wonderland. If U.S. theater owners will go along with it, the studio plans to shorten the window from 16 weeks to about 12. American exhibitors have not publicly commented on their reaction to Disney’s proposal, and the studio could possibly be offering theater owners better terms for the film to sweeten the deal.
All is not wonderful for Disney’s Wonderland plan, however. Theater owners across the pond in the U.K are vocally dissatisfied with the shortened window idea and there’s talk of a boycott of the film. Exhibitors Odeon and Vue are no longer displaying Wonderland marketing materials and have also stopping running trailers for the film. Said one disgruntled U.K. exhibitor:
“Disney has acted in an absolutely mercenary fashion. . . There is no compromise, no discussion being offered. It’s very frustrating. Our business model is under attack even though we’ve enjoyed three straight years of huge box office. Why fix something that isn’t broken?”
Disney CEO Robert Iger feels that the new model should be viewed positively by exhibitors and won’t hurt moviegoing. Said Iger:
“We feel that it is really important for us to maintain a very healthy business on the home video side, which we think is actually in the best interest of theater owners. . . Mindful of what is going on the home video side, we feel that it is time on a case-by-case basis to really take a look at how we are windowing home video product into the marketplace.”
How do you think this will play out, Insiders? Is a shortened release window really in the best interests of studios and theaters? What about consumers? Take a minute and leave your opinion in the comments.