Belgian boycott of Burton pic stands firm

BRUSSELS — Dutch multiplex chain Pathe has dropped out of the country’s “Alice in Wonderland” boycott after further talks with Disney.

Pathe and three other major exhibitors, accounting for around 80% of Dutch screens, announced a boycott on Feb. 15 in protest at Disney’s plans for an early DVD release.

Details of any agreement between Pathe and the Mouse House have not been revealed. However, Pathe will now bring “Alice” out on March 5, five days earlier than the original release date.

Pic will play at all 12 Pathe theaters, including Imax screens in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. “Alice” will also open a new Imax screen in Eindhoven on March 10.

Announcing the decision, Pathe marketing chief Youry Bredewold said “Alice” was an important factor in promoting 3D in Dutch cinemas. “The effects are phenomenal. They will convince the public once and for all to go and see 3D films,” he said.

There has been no reaction from the other Dutch chains.

A boycott in neighboring Belgium is holding firm. Disney will open a website on March 3 informing the public where the pic is screening. Initial indications are that this will include a first-run art-house in the capital, plus suburban and regional independents.

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