Alice in Thursdayland *

alice-wonderland-crop.jpgSure was strange to see the Los Angeles Times lead the Calendar section with a big photo and Kenneth Turan review of "Alice in Wonderland" on Thursday, instead of the usual Friday. The reason for the change, according to a soft-section insider at the LAT, is that the ad department sold Disney two front-of-Calendar spots for Alice ads in Friday's paper — top and bottom of the page. That's rare or perhaps unprecedented ad placement. Framing those ads around a review would have been too much for even the Sam Zell LAT, apparently. Disney might not have been too happy either, given that Turan found the film "surprisingly inert." His lede:

One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small, and the pills Tim Burton gives you don't do very much at all.

With apologies to Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit," that more or less sums up "Alice in Wonderland," the director's middling new version of the Lewis Carroll tale.

Can't wait to see if the ads are in the paper.

* Oh yeah: The Calendar section front page is 21 inches long, and six of those inches were sold to Disney today. Also, there's an "Alice in Wonderland" ad made to look like a faux LAT front page wrapped around the entire paper. Not quite selling turf on the front page, as they did to NBC last year, drawing howls within and outside the paper. Hard to say which is worse, but this move is probably more lucrative.

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