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AMC settles 'Iron Man 3' dispute with Disney (updated)

April 25, 2013|By Richard Verrier
  • Actor Robert Downey Jr. at the "Iron Man 3" premiere in Paris.
Actor Robert Downey Jr. at the "Iron Man 3" premiere in Paris. (Thibault Camus / Associated…)

AMC Entertainment, the nation's second-largest theater chain, has settled its fight with Walt Disney Studios over how to divvy up ticket sales for "Iron Man 3."

As a result of the new agreement between the two, AMC has resumed selling advance tickets for "Iron Man 3" on Fandango, the online ticketing service, two sources familiar with the matter said.

The dispute had threatened to put a significant damper on the May 3 opening of one of the summer's biggest movies. The superhero action movie from Marvel Studios held its Hollywood premiere at the El Capitan Theatre on Wednesday night.

"Iron Man 3 tickets are now on sale and we’re excited to welcome guests to the 9 p.m. debut and Marvel’s Iron Man Marathon at AMC, both on May 2," AMC said in a statement.  "We thank our partners at Disney for working with us to achieve economical terms so we can present our guests with one of the biggest blockbusters of 2013 and solidly kick off the summer movie season."

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The decision comes a week after AMC and Regal Entertainment, the nation's largest theater chain, stopped selling advance tickets for the movie, amid objections over how much revenue Disney wanted to collect on "Iron Man 3" and other upcoming films.

Sources said Disney was seeking up to 65% of ticket sales for "Iron Man 3," well above the 50% to 55% that studios typically collect.

AMC's Chief Executive Gerry Lopez told the Los Angeles Times during the CinemaCon convention last week that Disney's stance "puts us in a very, very uncomfortable situation."

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It's not clear whether Disney also has settled its differences with Regal Entertainment and Cinemark, both of which were not selling advance tickets for the movie as of Wednesday.

Earlier this week, Regal pulled marketing materials for the film because of objections to Disney's efforts to gain a larger share of ticket sales.

Although Disney has declined to officially comment on the dispute, studio executives contend Disney is justified in seeking improved revenue splits to offset the rising cost of making movies. Its contract with exhibitors has remained unchanged for seven years, during which the company has made significant investments in acquiring and developing new properties from Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm.

[This post was updated to include a statement from AMC Entertainment]

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