See the update at the end of this post on the warring theaters reaching an agreement with Disney that has them selling advance Iron Man 3 tickets.
ORIGINAL POST, APRIL 16, 3:27 P.M.: For an idea on how psyched Disney is about the Iron Man movie franchise, you needed only to go to the Anaheim theme park Saturday, when a new exhibit themed after the popcorn flicks starring Robert Downey Jr. opened at Disneyland (suck it, Florida!).
But the good vibes do not extend to movie theater owners, at least not in reference to Iron Man 3 opening mega-wide May 3.
The scoop machine known as Nikki Finke, whose print version of her Deadline Hollywood column used to run in OC Weekly and whose online version used to be hosted by our sistah paper LA Weekly, broke an "exclusive" today about theater chains refusing to sell advance tickets for Iron Man 3 due to a dispute with Disney.
The studio is seeking a deal from the chains for film rentals pulled from Marvel titles, beginning with Iron Man 3 and then extending to Disney's new Star Wars series and future Pixar offerings, Finke reports.
Knowing that pre-sale tickets play a huge role in establishing boffo box office figures, the theater chains are pushing back by withholding early sales, adds the Deadline Hollywood editor-in-chief, who in an update cites Carmike, AMC and Regal as being among the chains.
That makes it especially ironic in Disneyland's home Orange County turf, where Regal (thanks to the acquisition of Newport Beach's Edwards Cinemas) and AMC rank first and second respectively in number of screens.
Another entertainment reporter with OC Weekly ties, my pal Luke Y. Thompson, advanced the Iron Man Innoventions exhibit at the Happiest Place on Earth on his Topless Robot site, which is a Voice Media page of "nerd news, humor and self-loathing."
Ol' LYT notes that the exhibit opened in California's Orange County and not Florida's Orange County because Universal still has theme-park rights to properties from the picture on the East Coast (for now).
Anaheim Disney Resort visitors were treated in the exhibit this weekend to a Hall of Armor, which allowed them to dress as Iron Man via computer graphics. Video of the attraction is included with Thompson's Topless Robot post, which notes a similar attraction is already open in Hong Kong.
UPDATE, APRIL 25, 3:39 P.M.: Nikki Finke reports on Deadline Hollywood that Regal will post 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."
That updated Finke's earlier post revealing AMC not only has Iron Man 3 tickets now on sale in advance of the May 3 opening, it will also debut "Marvel's Iron Man Marathon" of the two earlier flicks with Robert Downey Jr. as Stark in the late hours of May 2 before the clock strikes midnight-ish for the third installment's drop. "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," an AMC statement reportedly reads.