Alice in UK Boycott Dispute

It was pointed out to me today that I had completely missed the story of the three big UK cinema chains, Odeon, Vue and Cineworld, threatening to boycott Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. In a bid to combat piracy and have the film available for consumers to buy on DVD sooner Disney are proposing to have the DVD out 12 weeks after the theatrical release rather than the standard 17 weeks.

The cinema chains are unhappy as this will allow them less time as the exclusive outlet for the film and so predict they will lose money, and with these three owning about 60% of all British screens and over 90% of British 3D screens Disney would stand to lose millions should the boycott go through. Disney tried the same tactic with A Christmas Carol last year but eventually caved to the cinemas demands so could well do the same this time around.

From the cinema’s point of view it is clearly benificial to have the film exclusively for 17 weeks rather than 12 but isn’t having the film for no weeks at all an even worse prospect? I feel it might be worth Disney calling the cinema chains bluff as I don’t see following through with the boycott as a good business decision.

With today’s technology and the modern consumer’s demand for media content as they want it, when they want it, it is refreshing to see a company like Disney make moves  towards not forcing people to wait for access to a film in the medium they want. If someone misses a film in the cinema and are able to then see it on DVD they are arguably less likely to turn to piracy. As the rest of the world moves forward the entertainment industry cannot hope to stick to old outdated distribution methods. Earlier this week Bollywood film Striker was released simultaneously in cinemas and on YouTube, allowing the choice between the big screen experience and a more on demand option.

If consumers can’t get what they want through official means they are liable to turn to illegal options that are more convenient. Disney is making a step in the right direction and I hope they are not hindered by the cinema’s interference.