Disney plans to narrow "Alice" DVD release window

Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:49pm EST
 
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By Sue Zeidler and Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co has asked theater operators to agree to a shorter time between the debut of its "Alice In Wonderland" film and the DVD release, as the company looks for new ways to ignite home video sales.

Disney's move comes as studios mull ideas for speeding their films to the home entertainment market to fight slumping DVD revenue.

But theater owners have opposed attempts to move up home video releases out of a concern that consumers might avoid the theater in favor of a short wait for the DVD.

Bob Chapek, president of distribution for Walt Disney Studios, said in a statement the company remains "committed to theatrical windows, with the need for exceptions to accommodate a shortened period on a case-by-case basis, such as with Disney's 'Alice in Wonderland.'"

"We feel that it's important for us to maintain a healthy business on the exhibition side and a healthy business on the home video side," Chapek said. "We think this is in the best interest of theater owners, because a healthy movie business is good for them and allows us to invest in high quality, innovative content."

Theater chains Regal Entertainment Group and AMC Entertainment Inc did not return calls seeking comment.

The 'window' is the time between when a movie ends its run in theaters and begins its release on DVD or television.

Plunging DVD sales have hit studios particularly hard because they get wider profit margins from DVDs than from theatrical runs, where they split proceeds with exhibitors.   Continued...