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Disney is currently in dispute with Regal Entertainment, the largest theater chain in the U.S., and as of now they won’t be showing Iron Man 3 in their theaters.

iron man 3 disney smallYesterday the L.A. Times reported that theaters owned by Regal Entertainment would be pulling marketing materials for Iron Man 3 from their theaters. Apparently, the reason is that Disney has requested theaters to give them a larger share of Iron Man 3 ticket sales, and some theaters have decided to play with fire and buck at their request. Fans have been commenting recently about the fact that they haven’t been able to pre-order Iron Man 3 tickets, so we decided to investigate.

We contacted managers at Regal, AMC, and Cinemark, to which all three have stated that they will not be showing Iron Man 3 in their theaters “until further notice.”

Why haven’t we heard more about this until now? Most likely because Disney is hoping that they can quietly figure out a deal before the film hits U.S. theaters next Friday. Usually ticket pre-orders start a month in advance for a film as massive as Iron Man 3, but tickets are still unavailable at all Regal, AMC, and Cinemark theaters in the nation.

There are roughly 40,000 movie screens in the U.S. and Regal Entertainment consists of 7,367 of those screens in 580 locations, AMC consists of roughly 4,000+ screens at more than 300 locations, while Cinemark provides 3,895 screens in 298 locations. That’s over 16,000 screens which won’t be available to Disney if they can’t complete a deal by May 3.

iron man 3 regal wide

According to sources, the box office percentages that film studios and theaters split can change based upon a film’s popularity and how long it stays in theaters. A film such as Iron Man 3 could be a 90/10 split during the first few weeks, with Disney receiving 90% of the ticket sales, and if the film was to stay in theaters for an extended period of time, the theaters would start getting an additional percentage of ticket sales – sometimes even resulting in a 50/50 split.

Disney is reportedly requesting a much higher percentage of ticket sales for Iron Man 3, along with additional future films, and AMC’s (Regal has partnered with AMC in the past) Chief Executive, Gerry Lopez, told The Times last week that Disney’s request “puts us in a very, very uncomfortable situation.” After all, summer accounted for $4.3 billion of last year’s record-breaking $10.8 billion in ticket revenue in the U.S. and Canada. This wouldn’t be the best time to start a war of percentages.

iron man 3 cinemarkJust imagine the amount of money that would be lost in food and drinks alone if Regal, AMC, and Cinemark can’t bang out a deal to have Iron Man 3 in their theaters. The film is currently tracking to have a $160 million dollar opening weekend, and will most likely go on to nearly break $1 billion by the time it leaves theaters.

There has to be a good reason why they’re unwilling to do this deal with Disney, but we can’t imagine ticket percentages even come close to what they pull in at their concession stands when the theaters are selling $8 dollar cokes, $7 dollar popcorn, and $6 dollar candy. The percentage must be something like they’ve never seen.

We have to imagine that Disney and the theaters will work out a deal before the film hits theaters next Friday, but with Regal removing Iron Man 3 marketing materials from their floors, we’re a bit concerned about whether the deal will be worked out in time for the premiere. As with most major hangups in business, it all comes down to each side making a compromise – we just hope it doesn’t prevent any fans from seeing the most anticipated movie of the summer.

Did you plan on seeing ‘Iron Man 3’ at one of these theaters?

Update: According to Deadline, AMC has ended its dispute with Disney and has started selling tickets for Iron Man 3. No word yet from Regal or Cinemark as to whether they’ve also ended their disputes.

Update #2: Regal has reportedly finalized negotiations with Disney and intends to post this on their Facebook page: “Regal has Iron Man 3! After some extensive talks with Disney, we’re glad to say that Tony Stark will definitely be in our theatres for Iron Man 3. We’ve got Fandango working overtime right now to place tickets back on sale at all Regal Cinemas, United Artists and Edwards Theatres.”

We’re glad to see AMC and Regal working with Disney and it looks like tickets will be available for the film later tonight for pre-order. We’ll update this post when tickets go on sale.

Update #3: Iron Man 3 tickets can now be pre-ordered via Fandango for AMC and Regal theaters. Still no official word from Cinemark theaters, but fans have stated that they can now purchase tickets from Cinemark’s website.

  • http://www.facebook.com/madison.burgess.16 Madison Burgess

    Nearly all of the theaters that are close to us in SF are owned by these two companies, mannn I don’t wanna go to the middle of nowhere now.

  • http://twitter.com/Shaftsword Shaft Almasy

    A very interesting article I would have thought there would be more than 40,000 screens in the whole of the US especially when your average decent sized cinema is probably going to have at least 6. It is too easy to jump on the Disney bashing bandwagon BUT if they want more than 90% that seems a lot, though I guess it might be a change to the deal of how long a film can stay on a theatre before they switch to the 50/50 deal. I can see both sides but I tent to be on the cinema side because I am thinking that perhaps their profits might be down with all the economic issues even if the actual numbers are similar to what they have always been, plus think about the cinema side investment into 3D which can’t be cheap.

    • hpboy13

      There are under 5000 theaters in the US, which means they have 8 or 9 on average. The record for widest release was the third Twilight, which was in 4468 theaters, so I’m guessing that’s pretty near the total number. THis makes sense; my local theater just added an eighth screen.

      I don’t know who to side with, just because everyone is hurting int he entertainment biz. I’m sure the theaters are hurting more, but Disney probably sunk over $200M into Iron Man 3, and understandably wants as big a return as they can get.

  • http://twitter.com/akacj7 Caroline J.

    if the theaters get a smaller cut of ticket sales, concessions will only get more expensive in order to meet theater overhead. but of course an increasing number of movie goers avoid concessions BECAUSE they are so expensive. sounds like a frustrating business to be in.

  • TheHamburglar

    In the article it says that Regal is owned by AMC. That’s just simply not true…AMC also had the profitsharing problem, but reached an agreement today with Disney. If AMC owned Regal, Regal wouldn’t have this problem anymore.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elizariff Sarah Riffel

    Supposedly, they’re not trying to push this for just Iron Man 3, which is why it’s created such a big deal for theatre groups. Disney is trying to get a higher cut of all ticket sales for the rest of Phase 2, the next four Pixar films, and the first two Star Wars movies in one fail swoop. So if a deal isn’t reached, the issue will likely be an ever-present one for every movie Disney plans to distribute for the next few years. Which is… frightening to say the least.

  • Matt

    Oh well, i guess everyone will have to wait until the dvd comes out in 4 months. shame shame

  • http://forgiveyourmind.tumblr.com/ Tariq

    Thankfully there are two theaters by me, one owned by Regal and one not. Looks like my favorite theater will be getting a ton more income with this movie!

  • RussellTurner

    Luckily my local theater is privately owned

  • Junkyjones6

    NOOOOOOOOO! Every single theater within a hundered miles of me is Regal! And, iron man 3 was supposed to be the big IMAX 3d event of the summer for me! Now I don’t have a IMAX theAter with any good movie. Wait… Actually not a single good theater…Grrrrrr…..

  • http://twitter.com/AntaraC Antara Chowdhury

    Luckily I live in New York City, so finding a movie theater to watch Iron Man 3 shouldn’t be that difficult. But I almost always go to Regal or AMC, so this is inconvenient. I hope they reach a deal soon; it’s hard to imagine the largest theater chain isn’t going to play one of the biggest blockbusters of the year.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1045615098 Riana-Tiana Menezes

    Disney stop being so greedy!

  • Benteee

    thank god for the update… i watch movies at AMC

  • http://www.facebook.com/ron.swanson.378 Ron Swanson

    I work at a Cinemark and we still do not have showing scheduled for Iron Man 3 at all! I hope they make a deal too!

  • Lauren S

    Sometimes I love being Australian. Its showing in every single one of our theatres, and came out two days ago. :D

  • http://twitter.com/VBBieber Mallory

    Good thing I always go to AMC anyways.

  • Glaciusx

    AMC, bitches.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JesseB.72 Jesse Barrow

    Come on Cinemark start selling your tickets as well!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ron.swanson.378 Ron Swanson

    Aparrently Disney wanted 100% of the Box Office profit, taking away the 2% that theaters normally get.

  • Lisa

    When to see it on 24th April in New Zealand really good to say it’s the 3rd one.

  • Christian

    This is kind of a big deal, why is there not a stronger reaction to this…?

  • http://www.facebook.com/JesseB.72 Jesse Barrow

    Cinemark has begun selling their tickets! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! C’mon Son!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/AkoSiMigs Migs Austria

    Luckily, there’s such no dispute here in the Philippines. I’ve seen the film 2 days ago and it was so good.

    I hope this issue gets solved right away so Iron Man fans in the US can enjoy the film next week.

  • Mickey Chewie Moose

    Disney… Star Wars franchise… The Evil Empire has truly arrived now. Darth Disney / Walt Vader wants your $$$’s, and the movie houses $$$’s.

  • darren

    what about cineplex for us canadians?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ron.swanson.378 Ron Swanson

    Cinemark reached an agreement too, so they will be playing it!

  • stargazer

    Good thing there’s a Carmike theater nearby. Everything else around here is Cinemark! (Here’s hoping the lone Carmike theater will have enough tickets to go around) Though shame on Disney for wanting a bigger piece of the pie! They’re already a mega-rich company.

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