Dutch cinemas to boycott Disney's 'Alice in Wonderland'

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Dutch cinema owners said Monday they will boycott Disney's Alice in Wonderland to protest plans for the film's release on DVD less than three months after its big screen debut.

"The four big cinema houses, Minerva, Pathe, Wolff and Jogchems - representing between 80 and 85 percent of all cinemas in the Netherlands, have decided not to show the film," spokesman Youry Bredewold told AFP.

"Disney is not keeping its part of the bargain. There is an agreement between movie distributors and cinema owners that there must be a window of at least four months between the cinema release and the DVD release."

In this case, Disney planned for the movie to hit Dutch big screens on March 10, followed on June 1 by the DVD launch.

This would mean fewer cinema customers, said Bredewold, "as people won't have to wait long for the movie to come out on DVD" - which is normally cheaper to rent than the cost of a movie ticket.

"We will lose money due to our decision; we expected this to become one of the most popular movies of 2010," added Bredewold, who is spokesman for Pathe and a representative of the National Board of Cinema Owners.

"But we decided we need to send a message to the whole industry: if you don't accept our terms we will never show your movies again."

Cinemas in other European countries and the United States have taken a similar stance on the film, he said.

No Disney spokesman in the Netherlands could be reached for comment.