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.

Starz has decided that their original programming can compete with the other hot shows airing on Sunday nights.

Network CEO Chris Albrecht has told THR that they are planning on moving all of their original shows including Outlander, Ash Vs Evil Dead, and Black Sails — which currently air on Saturdays — to Sundays. The move will begin July 17 with the Starz series Power. Outlander will likely not move to Sundays until next season.

“Sundays are a prestige night and we feel our shows are definitely going to be very competitive, not just in viewership but in the attention-getting business on Sundays,” Albrecht said to THR, “So it made sense to move.”

Outlander and Starz’s other original series will be going up against tough competition, including AMC’s The Walking Dead and HBO’s Game of Thrones. Albrecht says part of the reason he wanted to move the shows was to make sure they were part of the watercooler talk on Monday mornings.

THR notes that Showtime’s original series typically get DVR’d, “growing 214 percent [in viewership] during the course of a week.” This would suggest that a lot of people aren’t sitting in front of a TV on Saturdays and want to watch the shows on a different day of the week. So, moving their programming to Sundays may not impact overall viewership numbers much.

Starz recently overtook Showtime as the second-most subscribed to cable channel. HBO still sits at number one, though all three are facing tough competition from Netflix.

Disney has set its sights on another live-action retelling of an animated classic: The Little Mermaid.

Deadline reports that the studio “recently heard a new take and are currently evaluating whether to proceed with the idea,” and “discussions have also taken place with some major producers, including some with a strong connection to the studio.”

That’s all we know for now. A “new take” makes it sound like they could be contemplating an alternate story than the one we saw in the 1989 animated classic, but I’d personally prefer a direct adaptation. I want to see live-action Ariel sing some of the Disney classics! Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book has spoiled me.

Like Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid is one of Disney’s most beloved animated movies, so expectations for a live-action adaptation will immediately be set very high. With their recent adaptation of The Jungle Book hitting theaters to very positive reviews and the first trailer for their live-action Beauty and the Beast being very well received, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Disney start to look at other potential animated properties for source material. (But you would’ve expected to hear about a live-action Lion King before Little Mermaid after The Jungle Book’s success, wouldn’t you?)

The Little Mermaid is the latest in a long line of animated-to-live action projects in the works at Disney. Others include an Aladdin spinoff looking at the Genie’s origins, The Jungle Cruise starring Dwayne Johnson, Dumbo with director Tim Burton, Mary Poppins with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Emily Blunt, and Tinker Bell with Reese Witherspoon. And then there are sequels to the adaptations like Maleficent 2 and The Jungle Book 2.

Be sure to cross The Little Mermaid off your animated-to-live-action bingo card.

Do you think Disney can pull off a live-action ‘Little Mermaid’?

With Donald Trump’s presidency looking less and less like a joke, these high-profile authors and writers believe the time for silence is over.

Over 400 authors have signed a petition to keep Donald Trump out of the White House.

The petition, titled “An open letter to the American people,” was written by Andrew Altschul and Mark Slouka. It unequivocally states that Trump must not become President of the United States, and explains why writers in particular are worried about the power of his empty words and fear-mongering rhetoric.

Signed by the likes of Stephen King, Junot Diaz, Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket), Cheryl Strayed, Colm Tóibín and Jennifer Egan, the open letter lays out reasons for openly opposing Trump’s candidacy, which they believe “appeals to the basest and most violent elements in society.”

The letter states:

“Because, as writers, we are particularly aware of the many ways that language can be abused in the name of power;

Because we believe that any democracy worthy of the name rests on pluralism, welcomes principled disagreement, and achieves consensus through reasoned debate;

Because American history, despite periods of nativism and bigotry, has from the first been a grand experiment in bringing people of different backgrounds together, not pitting them against one another;

Because the history of dictatorship is the history of manipulation and division, demagoguery and lies;

Because the search for justice is predicated on a respect for the truth;

Because we believe that knowledge, experience, flexibility, and historical awareness are indispensable in a leader;

Because neither wealth nor celebrity qualifies anyone to speak for the United States, to lead its military, to maintain its alliances, or to represent its people;

Because the rise of a political candidate who deliberately appeals to the basest and most violent elements in society, who encourages aggression among his followers, shouts down opponents, intimidates dissenters, and denigrates women and minorities, demands, from each of us, an immediate and forceful response;

For all these reasons, we, the undersigned, as a matter of conscience, oppose, unequivocally, the candidacy of Donald J. Trump for the Presidency of the United States.”

While there are plenty of arguments for why Trump should not receive as much media coverage as he gets, we have to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation when some of the country’s most respected artists take such a powerful stance as this.

The petition has been signed by over 7,000 people so far, and you can add your name to the list right here.

You can find out more about the group of writers who oppose Trump on Twitter, at @WritersOnTrump.