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German cinema chains are pulling three 20th Century Fox movies from their distribution rosters, in an act of protest against Fox's DVD sales policies.
Do earlier DVD releases equal empty seats? Chain theaters think so
German cinema chains Cinemaxx and Cinestar plan to pluck three Fox movies out of their lineups, amid an ongoing dispute over the studio's decision to put the films out on DVD earlier than usual.
German cinemas must compete with earlier DVD releases
The two chains said they will no longer show the children's fantasy film "Eragon," the Ben Stiller comedy "Night at the Museum," or the teen comedy "John Tucker Must Die," because these movies will be marketed to home audiences on DVD just three months after their theatrical release, Cinestar spokesman said Thomas Schulz said.
Market leader Cinemaxx also said it also plans to pull the movies, which they began showing several weeks ago.
No accord in sight
The two sides are unlikely to reach an agreement any time soon. Major motion pictures are usually are not available on DVD for six months after their release. By cutting that time in half, Fox is "weakening sales in the German market without even taking into consideration German viewing practices," the Association of German Movie Theaters (HDF) said in a press release.
On Wednesday, Fox refused to comment on the theaters' plans.
Cinemaxx spokesman Arne Schmidt complained that in the case of the current films they didn't have any say in the deal, saying, "We find that to be in bad taste.
Cinemaxx: Four month limit
Rampant piracy is a big concern for film distributors
Already some 18 months ago, Cinemaxx chief Hans Joachim Flebbe said his chain would not play films that were sold on DVD earlier than four months after their release. But there is no contractual rule regarding a DVD waiting period.
Scmidt refused the call the action a boycott, saying talks on the matter were ongoing.
"It is irritating for us, and for our customers," Cinestar's Schulz said.