Belgian theaters stage ‘Alice’ boycott

Exhibs want DVD release to be put back to 18 weeks

BRUSSELS — Belgian movie theaters have decided to boycott Disney’s 3D fantasy “Alice in Wonderland.”

Seven exhibitors belonging to the Federation of Belgian Cinemas (FCB), including multiplex UGC, announced Wednesday that they would not program the film if Disney insists on an early DVD release.

“Alice” opens in Belgium on March 10, with the DVD to follow less than 12 weeks later on June 1. The FCB wants to see the 18-week norm respected.

Belgian market leader Kinepolis, which also has most of the country’s 3D screens, supported the protestors but appeared to leave the door open to negotiation. It said there was “a real chance” that the film would not appear on its screens either.

The FCB called Disney’s position counter-productive and provocative, coming at a time when most exhibitors have invested in costly digital and 3D installations.

It added that it could not understand the incoherence of Disney’s position, since usual release windows are being respected in other countries, such as France and Germany.

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