Paramount Pictures will be getting a payday for "Iron Man 3" -- a film released by its crosstown rival Disney.
But Paramount, which had no involvement in the making of the Marvel Studios-produced superhero movie, could wind up receiving more than $100 million from the box office pie.
The financial deal stems from an October 2010 agreement between Disney and Paramount, which had previously distributed Marvel movies, including the first two "Iron Man" pictures.
Disney, which bought Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion in 2009, acquired worldwide distribution and marketing rights to "The Avengers" and "Iron Man 3" from Paramount by agreeing to pay the studio a minimum of $115 million, which was to be split evenly between the two films. The agreement allowed Disney to exploit the two films in all of its businesses, such as consumer products and television programming.
Under terms of the deal, Disney agreed to pay Paramount 9% of the worldwide grosses of "Iron Man 3," which hit U.S. theaters May 3. The film appears poised to cross the $1-billion mark at the global box office, which means that Paramount could be paid tens of millions of dollars more than the promised $57.5 million -- half of the $115 million guaranteed payment.
If the movie grosses $1 billion, Paramount could be paid $32.5 million more than the minimum guarantee, for a total of $90 million.
If "Iron Man 3" grosses $1.5 billion, Paramount could stand to receive an additional $77.5 million, for a total of $135 million.
The 2010 agreement called for Paramount to receive 8% of worldwide grosses of "The Avengers," which was released in May 2012. "The Avengers" sold $1.51 billion of tickets worldwide, good for third best all time.
Spokespersons for Disney and Paramount declined to comment.
But Paramount Vice Chairman Rob Moore told the Los Angeles Times in October 2010, "For them to coordinate distribution and marketing and us to still get the economic benefit while focusing exclusively on our own tentpoles is a win for both sides."
So far, "Iron Man 3" has grossed $212.4 million domestically. It unfurled in many international markets about a week before its U.S. debut. The movie is projected to gross $70 million or more this weekend in North America.
On Tuesday, Disney reported a massive jump in net income for its fiscal second quarter, lifted by the performance of its media networks, movie studio and theme parks. The company's movie studio had a strong quarter, posting operating income of $118 million.