Disney and Theater Owners End Dispute Over 'Iron Man 3' Terms
UPDATED: The superhero pic marks the first tentpole of summer.
Clearing the way for Iron Man 3 to open almost everywhere in North America on May 3, Disney and AMC Entertainment have ended their dispute over new terms put forth by the studio. Ditto for Regal Entertainment and Cinemark.
Last week, AMC and Regal Entertainment, the two largest U.S. circuits, yanked advance sales for the tentpole because of the impasse. And earlier this week, Regal went so far as to pull all marketing materials for the threequel, including trailers.
"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. 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," AMC Theaters said in a statement.
Said Regal in its statement, which came hours later: "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.
Studio insiders say it has been seven years since Disney revisited its terms, and that in that time, it has upped its profile by acquiring Pixar, Marvel and now LucasFilm.
There was plenty of incentive for all sides to resolve their differences. Based on tracking, Iron Man 3 (starring Robert Downey Jr.) could open between $135 million and $145 million in North America, ahead of the $128.1 million debut of Iron Man 2 three years ago. Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle also are returning cast members.
Directed by franchise newcomer Shane Black, Iron Man 3 is already rolling out overseas, where it opened to a stellar $13.2 million in a dozen markets on Wednesday. By Sunday, the tentpole will have opened in 80 percent of the international market and is expected to collect north of $110 million.