AMC Delays ‘Iron Man 3’ Ticket Sales in Disney Dispute

AMC Entertainment Inc., the second-largest U.S. cinema chain, said it isn’t selling advance tickets to the Marvel film “Iron Man 3” because it hasn’t worked out terms with distributor Walt Disney Co.

“We hope to reach agreement and get tickets on sale as soon as possible so it doesn’t affect opening weekend,” Ryan Noonan, an AMC spokesman, said yesterday in an e-mail.

Disney, the world’s largest entertainment company, is set to release “Iron Man 3” on May 3 in the U.S. to kick off the summer movie season. The film, which stars Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow, is projected to gross $151 million in its first weekend, the estimate of researcher

That would be the biggest opening weekend so far in 2013. Disney is using the blockbuster sequel to seek better terms on future films with theater owners, reported yesterday.

Disney, based in Burbank, California, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Domestic box office receipts are down 11 percent this year to $2.62 billion, according to Disney’s Marvel had the top-grossing film last year with “The Avengers.” Disney also owns Pixar and Lucasfilm, the maker of the “Star Wars” movies.

Chinese Version

Disney said on March 30 it will release a separate version of “Iron Man 3” in China, and won’t seek official Chinese co-production status for the comic-book based film. The picture was partly made in China with Beijing-based partner DMG Entertainment. A release date for the Chinese version wasn’t announced.

Disney slipped 0.6 percent to $60.38 at 1:46 p.m. in New York from yesterday’s all-time closing high. As of yesterday, the shares had advanced 22 percent this year, compared with a 10 percent gain for the S&P 500 Stock Index.

AMC, second to Regal Entertainment Group in the U.S., was acquired by China’s Dalian Wanda Group in September 2012. The chain is based in Kansas City, Missouri.

Russ Nunley, a spokesman for Knoxville, Tennessee-based Regal, declined to comment on any discussions with Disney.