Odeon U.K. boycotts 3D 'Alice in Wonderland'

Following Disney's plan to release the DVD after 12 weeks

LONDON -- Tim Burton's new 3D blockbuster "Alice in Wonderland" will not be screened in Odeon cinemas in the U.K., Ireland and Italy, the chain said, with other films taking priority.

The stance is a response to a dispute over plans for the interval between Disney's fantasy adventure hitting cinema screens and its DVD release to be set at around three months, instead of the longer usual period of 17 weeks.

Odeon, which has more than 100 cinemas in the U.K. alone, fears Disney's proposals would "inevitably set a new benchmark, leading to a 12-week window becoming rapidly standard in the U.K. for the majority of film titles".

Odeon and UCI cinema group said in a statement: "Odeon/UCI has invested considerable sums of money, especially in the U.K., over the past 12 months to install digital projection systems in its cinemas to enable customers to enjoy 3D.

"The popularity of 3D titles meant that last year these films played in Odeon/UCI cinemas for an average of 18 weeks from initial release."

The statement continued: "We have a very full lineup of films to offer audiences over the next few weeks, including two new 3D titles. These will now take priority in our cinemas."

The cinema group said it would be showing the film in its Spanish, German, Portuguese and Austrian cinemas -- "where Disney has indicated that it plans to observe the normal DVD release window".

The eagerly anticipated Walt Disney Pictures movie, starring Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter, will have a glitzy royal world premiere in London on Thursday, attended by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

Disney sources said that "active conversations" with cinema chains were ongoing.

The movie will be released on March 5 in both 2D and 3D and the sources said business could be done very quickly and distribution speedily arranged.