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]