Disney To Attempt Theatrical Shrink Ray With 'Alice In Wonderland'

In an effort to maximize profit by minimizing the time from theatrical debut to the home video market, Disney is testing out a new release model by asking theaters to cut several weeks off the big-screen run of the upcoming Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland.

Because a family friendly film like Alice stands to make the studio significantly more cash in the VOD and DVD markets than it does on the silver screen, Big D has put out requests to exhibitors in both the U.S. and abroad, asking them to cut 3-4 weeks off what is usually a 16-17 week wide release.

Of course, since this means fewer greenbacks going into the billfolds of the distributors and exhibitors, Disney is going to have to cough up something in return — possibly a share of the VOD/DVD revenue — to get them to play along.

If the Alice experiment is a success, then you can expect to see A) an ever-shortening release window for big-ticket movies and B) a proportional decrease in the time between the film’s theatrical and home video releases. In effect, a theatrical release could be viewed as little more than a loss-leading publicity effort for the more profitable home market.

Some smaller studios, like Mark Cuban’s Magnolia Pictures, have been working with a simultaneous theater/home release model. But a major studio has yet to make such a leap.

‘Alice’ might get shorter U.S. theatrical run [Hollywood Reporter]