I read with interest, reports this week, of Disneys attempt to bully cinemas into a 12 week only run of the new Tim Burton 'Alice In Wonderland' flick, rather than the standard 17. Whilst it's hard to get behind a company which charges so obscenely for it's tickets and popcorn (in central London at least), I am inclined to applaud Odeon for taking a stand, citing the presumption that 12 weeks will become standard.
I'm by no means an expert on these things, but I guess shorter run times mean more condensed ticket sales, so higher ratings and fuller cinemas. It also allows Disney to get the DVD out sooner, thereby drawing the two peaks in ticket/DVD and merchandising sales closer together. In this case, I guess it's also to make sure the DVD is in the shops before the kids go on their summer break from school.
The flipside of this, of course, is that Odeon probably aren't that bothered about protecting the cinema goers right to the experience of sitting watching a blockbuster in an empty cinema on the Tuesday of week 16. Longer runs not only mean more ticket sales, but also more consumables sales, as well as the chance to get people through the door and advertise the next blockbuster to them.
For my money though, I think the longer run is a positive thing and even if it takes a vested interest, it should be protected. After all, the cinema is the main event with the DVD a pale imitation, however big you plasma screen is. I note that Vue have reached an agreement on the matter with Disney, so watch this space for how it all pans out.
As for me, I've got my 3D IMAX ticket booked. Now none of you have a plasma THAT big.