Warner At Odds With Electronics Boutique

WHV suspends shipments to retailer in "LOTR" spat.

Warner Home Video (WHV) has suspended all home-video shipments to West Chester, Pa.-based retailer Electronics Boutique due to allegations that the retailer began selling "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (New Line) 10 days before the title's Tuesday (May 25) home-video release date.

WHV -- which distributes all home-video titles from its sister company New Line -- heard about the alleged street-date violation after other retailers reported it to their retailer hotline.

A WHV confirmed that all shipments have been halted, but did not comment further.

An Electronics Boutique representative says that the chain is aware of the action, and is discussing the matter internally. The chain operates more than 1,500 stores worldwide.

"The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" was 2003's top theatrical release in the United States, according to WHV, and generated more than $376 million at the box office. The title will be available for $29.95 on VHS and DVD.