Danish producers fight to close windows

DVD-theatrical gap sends biz to negotiating table

Danish film producers are railing against the country’s exhibitors in a fight over DVD release windows — an issue that impacted the Brit biz earlier this year as the battle between the sectors continues around the world.

In Denmark, the window between theatrical and DVD release is six months for Danish films, four for non-Danish pics. The film producers’ association, the distributors and the Danish Film Institute all agree that the current rules must be changed. But exhibitors say no.

Demanding a change, the producers’ association has cancelled its exhib agreements. New negotiations are to start shortly.

Ronnie Fridthjof, who produced hit doc “Armadillo,” is one of the most vocal critics of the window. After a successful world premiere in Cannes, the pic opened locally in late May and grossed $1.5 million. Because of the windows rules, however, it won’t be released on DVD until the end of November, which will limit the pic’s holiday DVD sales, says Fridthjof.

“It is absolutely absurd that Danish films should have worse marketing conditions than U.S. films. The longer the window from when the film opened in the cinemas, the more money we have to spend on reminding the audience that the film exists. Why can’t the same rules apply to everybody?” he asks.

In a further blow, “Armadillo” will most likely air on channel TV2 in early 2011, shortening the DVD potential further.