2ND UPDATE 2:30 PM: The largest domestic movie theater chain Regal Entertainment says this post is going up on its 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.”
UPDATE 12:37 PM: AMC just released this pro forma statement. (Don’t you love how everybody is friends again?): “Iron Man 3 tickets are now on sale and we’re excited to welcome guests to the 9 PM debut and Marvel’s Iron Man Marathon at AMC, both on May 2. 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.”
BREAKING… As I first broke the news on April 16th, AMC was one of the biggest theater chains refusing to put Iron Man 3 tickets on advance sale even though this summer’s hotly anticipated movie opens on May 3rd. That’s because Disney decided to leverage the film in order to renegotiate the studio’s future terms with the chains beginning with this humongous Marvel blockbuster. At one point AMC, Regal, and Carmike were among those holding out. On Tuesday, Regal with 7,000 screens in 540 locations yanked standees, movie posters and other marketing materials for Iron Man 3. Disney told exhibitors it hasn’t negotiated its terms with the movie chains in several years — not even for Summer 2012′s huge tentpole The Avengers — so the studio thinks it’s due for a new overall deal on future Disney titles. Those include not just Marvel sequels but also Lucasfilm’s new Star Wars series as well as Pixar toons. The studio spent Cinema-Con in Las Vegas bargaining with the exhibition community, some of whose chains pushed back. The result was an impasse with a number of circuits — and AMC refused to put IM3 tickets on sale until there was an accord. AMC had scheduled Iron Man movie marathons for May 2nd. All along distributors and exhibitors expected a resolution to this impasse — but this really went down to the wire with AMC. It’s not unusual for Hollywood studios to renegotiate their terms on the eve of the release of a hot movie. And it doesn’t get much hotter than Iron Man 3 which is projected to earn a staggering $150 million during it’s 3-day non-holiday domestic weekend.