It’s no secret that owning a movie theater can kind of suck if you want to make money. Sure people flock to it every night to see the latest releases, but the movie studios make more money from the meat in the seats than the theaters do. You can thank profit hungry movie executives for the $6.00 box of stale cookie dough bites you just paid for, but some people in the theater business are sick and tired of movie studios reaping the benefits of their hard work.
Iron Man 3 is scheduled to be released next Friday, and unless you live under a rock/hate Marvel you know that it’s expected to be one of the highest grossing movies of the year (if not the highest grossing because seriously its Iron Man). Regal Entertainment Group and AMC Entertainment Holdings were supposed to start selling online tickets for the movie, but after realizing that they were getting completely screwed by Disney on the revenue split they decided to refuse to sell them. Soon other theater franchises (which apparently exist) followed suit.
Usually most movie studios and movie theaters split ticket sales revenue “50-50″, but in reality it’s more like 40-60 or 30-70 because it’s pretty common for studios to request a bigger share of revenue for high-profile releases. Apparently this all started when movie studios and theater franchises met at Cinema-Con when Disney made a big presentation about their upcoming pictures. When Disney announced that they wanted to renegotiate how cinema chains split up the ticket revenue between studios for their upcoming picture, AMC put their foot down.
It isn’t uncommon for movie studios and theaters to clash over ticket revenue, in fact it seems like every four years there’s a new battle royale over who gets what. People are crying foul this time because it seems like Disney is doing this in anticipation for their upcoming big movies. Disney acquired the rights to the Star Wars franchise a few months ago, and there are rumors that the company is going to attempt to release a new movie every year after 2015. Disney bought up Marvel years ago, but now the rights other studios had to Marvels hit franchises (X-Men, Spiderman, Daredevil) are set to expire. If all goes well Disney is going to have an extremely profitable next couple of years, and they want to keep a lot of that revenue to themselves.
Despite AMC’s loud objection to any price changes over a week ago, it was reported yesterday that AMC and Disney reached an agreement. Since the deal’s details have not been made public, one can only assume that AMC probably didn’t win this one since they were up against a company that technically has one of the world’s largest naval fleets because of their insane amount of cruise ships.