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Amazon Takes On Disney and Captain America

Retail giant Amazon is giving Captain America, Miss Piggy and Maleficent the cold shoulder.

Consumers are suddenly unable to place advance orders to buy DVDs or Blu-ray discs of forthcoming films from Walt Disney Studios, including two popular summer releases that each captured more than $700 million in global box office receipts — "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and "Maleficent."

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Neither Disney nor Amazon responded to requests for comment on the development, which was first reported by Home Media Magazine.

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Amazon's move is reminiscent of a dispute it had with another powerhouse Hollywood film studio, Warner Bros.

Earlier this summer, Amazon halted preorders of movie discs from the studio ahead of the hotly anticipated home release of the family film "The Lego Movie."

Amazon used the hard-ball tactics to persuade Warner Bros. to agree to more favorable deal terms, according to one person with knowledge of the discussion. Ultimately, the two sides reached an accord, and DVD and Blu-ray disc sales resumed.

On the print side, the retail giant is embroiled in a pricing dispute with book publisher Hachette, as the bookseller seeks to drop the price for electronic books. Hachette has resisted — and Amazon responded by suspending advance orders of titles from the publisher's authors and slowing mail delivery of its books.

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A group of writers are taking out a full-page ad in Sunday's New York Times to protest the bookseller's actions — and Amazon has responded with a campaign of its own.

Even though DVD sales are declining amid the growing popularity of Internet streaming services, the revenue remains important to underwriting the cost of a film.

The home release of major family films such as the forthcoming titles from Disney — "Maleficent," a fresh telling of the "Sleeping Beauty" story from the perspective of its villain, and "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," a second installment in the Marvel superhero saga — remain popular with certain groups of consumers.

Amazon currently offers the Disney titles, as well as "Muppets Most Wanted," for purchase through its video streaming service, Amazon Instant Video.

By Dawn Chmielewski, Re/code.net.

CNBC's parent NBC Universal is an investor in Re/code's parent Revere Digital, and the companies have a content-sharing arrangement.

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