West Edmonton Mall Movie Gets Panned

Christmas in Wonderland, a new movie that we wrote about in May filmed largely at the West Edmonton Mall is not getting good reviews so far. Even worse is that it's mostly getting ignored by critics. Just a handful of papers even bothered to review it. And it's only enjoying a a limited release in the U.S. right now--about 1,000 theaters.

It's also having some distribution problems in Canada. That created an awkward situation since there was a danger that the movie wouldn't even be shown at the property where it was filmed in time for the holiday shopping season. Luckily, mall management was able to work out a deal to get the film shown. But it will be the only place in Canada where you can see it.

Still, this has to be a disappointing outcome. The mall company turned over huge sections of the property over to the film shoot and had hoped the movie would provide residuals in future years based off annual promotions based on showing the film and selling the DVD throughout the property. It's not looking like things are going to work out that way.

The upshot is that this Christmas, unless you live in Edmonton, the film won't be coming to a theatre near you.

"We're trying to get a deal closed [with a distributor]," said Tim Brown, president of Vancouver-based Insight Film Studios Ltd., the film's Canadian producer.

Brown said that in the meantime, he has struck a separate deal so that the film can at least be shown in the Alberta capital. "Getting a distributor to come on board and step up to a minimum guarantee that suits our financing plan is not always easy to do," he said. "Right now, the main objective is to get the film out so people in Edmonton can get a chance to see it."

It's too late to get it booked elsewhere for Christmas, he said. "People are booking Christmas in August."

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