Defying Disney

Quesnel video store owner defies Disney order to "hold" rentals.

They’re boycotting Disney.

More than 1,000 independent movie stores are taking a stand against the movie giant after Disney implemented a new rental “hold” policy.

The new policy dictates movie stores to “hold” the Disney flick for 28 days after its release date, only allowing the merchant to offer the option of selling the film.

“So you have to buy it if you want to see it, or wait,” K-Max Video and Games owner and operator Mitch Vik said.

“And to add salt to the wound, you can rent it as a digital version [Shaw On Demand, etc] but you cannot rent it at a movie store.”

The move by Disney could mean the destruction of small movie businesses and the loss of about 10,000 workers, according to Movie Experts, a team of more than 1,000 movie retail locations committed to protecting independent business.

“I founded the company in 2000 to help indie video stores protect their place in the industry they created against the proliferation of corporate chains and the fact that we are still here, long after the chains have gone, is a testament to the fighting spirit of the small Canadian entrepreneurs that continue to be the engine that drive our economy,” Movie Experts founder Dave Henriques said.

Disney released a statement reasoning its decision to hold back new releases by pointing to Redbox’s 40,000 low-priced movie vending machines and Netflix’s cheap delivery service.

But Henriques and Vik, along with thousands of Canadian movie store owners, argue the Canadian market is much different than that of its American counterparts.

“In rural areas we rent a lot more,” Vik said.

Add to that the fact Redbox only has a couple hundred vending machines available in Canada and Netflix operates differently in our home and native land – only offering old movies available for streaming and absolutely no mail delivery and Vik thinks the independent  film guys have a solid point.

But Disney’s not listening.

“We’ve tried to engage them, but they ignored us,” Vik said.

So Vik and many others on the Movie Experts team are renting them anyway.

“We will have Disney titles available on the day they are released,” he said.

“We are defying the rules.”

Because, Vik said, if they do nothing, what is stopping other company’s from following suit.

“And then I’m out of business,” he said, adding K-Max has been in business for 20 years with Vik and his wife Tammy running it for four years and employing four staff.

“This is an important fight – we can’t lose.”

The next Disney titles for release is The Avengers, Sept. 25.


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