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Amazon blocks preorders for Disney movies

The decision to restrict Disney movie preorders follows a strategy the online retailer has used with Warner Home Video and book publisher Hachette.
By Ananth Baliga   |   Aug. 11, 2014 at 10:28 AM   |   Comments

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SEATTLE, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- Amazon has restricted preorders for certain Disney movies, in what could be another contract dispute between the online retailer and a media company.

The online retailer has listed copies of Muppets Most Wanted, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Million Dollar Arm, and Maleficent as unavailable. But the company is making digital copies of these movies available on Amazon Instant Video.

The move is similar to the tactic used by Amazon against Warner Home Video, when it stopped preorders from mid-May to late June for movies produced by the studio. This was the first time the online retailer used the tactic against a movie studio.

"They are squeezing studios on DVD pricing, understandable given their market position," Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, told Bloomberg Businessweek. "Disney can't cut them off, and Amazon can cut Disney off, so I would say Amazon has the leverage."

Amazon has been engaged in a public fight with Hachette, asking for a bigger margins from the sale of e-books published by the book publisher. Amazon has put on hold sales for Hachette books as the two companies have been unable to reach an agreement.

The fight has gotten bitter in the last two months with most Hachette authors siding with the publishing company, forming Authors United, a group attempting to persuade Amazon to stop withholding books from sale while the two sides negotiate an agreement.

Amazon has tried to directly appeal to authors by offering them proceeds from the sale of any ebooks during the dispute.

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