AMC and Regal, two of the largest theater chains in the nation, have halted advanced ticket sales of Marvel's upcoming Iron Man 3 over a dispute with the House of Mouse over how the box office is split. While this may not sound like a big deal, if the argument isn't resolved quickly, there's a very real possibility that the film won't play at all on any of the chains' 800+ theaters!
The argument came about several days ago when Disney wanted to renegotiate their current terms with various cinema chains around the country. The new deal would give Disney a great portion of the revenue from box office returns not just for Iron Man 3, but many of their other upcoming releases as well. Needless to say, movie theaters chains weren't exactly okay with this new deal and they've decided to fight back against it. Here's what the AMC CEO, Gerry Lopez, had to say:
“It goes well beyond anything I have seen in my time in the industry. It’s enough for us to pause and push back.”
Currently, the terms are a 50-50 split between theaters and the studio, but Disney is pushing to increase their take on the box office to 60 or 65% instead.
The direct impact on fans right now is that advance online tickets for Iron Man 3 are no longer for sale at any Regal or AMC theaters and apparently Cinemark isn't doing it either. The main thing fans, and Disney, should concern themselves with at this point, is that if neither side comes to a resolution any time soon there's a possibility that the film won't be shown at any of those theaters.
Considering they are two of the largest cinema chains in the country, that'd have a massive impact on Iron Man 3's box office haul. Hell, even now with pre-sale tickets not being offered it's opening BO is already being impacted. Iron Man 3 is huge and already tracking for some massive sales on its opening weekend, and neither Disney nor the theaters companies will want to miss out on it. Chances are, something will be worked out before the film releases. Even so, it wouldn't be the first time big film brands weren't shown in large theaters because of money arguments. AMC said as much in this statement:
"We do not have 'Iron Man 3' tickets on sale because we are still working to reach terms with Disney. We hope to reach agreement and get tickets on sale as soon as possible so it doesn't affect opening weekend."
While we expect some sort of a resolution soon (and we'll update as we get the info), if you've pre-purchased a ticket for any of these theaters for opening night, you may want to contact your local theater to make sure it's still playing before you go.