On Tuesday, Mike Arrington of TechCrunch
took a straw poll on Twitter and decided to set up a screening of the new movie Iron Man
, based on the comic. By Wednesday morning the details were set
. He had rented out the Metreon by calling the "Group Sales" phone number on the Iron Man
website, and paid for 600 seats for the showing. He posted the info to his blog, and asked people to pay $1 per seat in order to hold the spot (and to avoid no-shows). All this was perfectly reasonable. And then... a lawyer from Marvel Comics sent Arrington a threatening cease-and-desist letter
demanding that he pull down the information about the show, claiming that Arrington wasn't authorized to set up such a showing. Again, the whole thing was arranged by Arrington by calling
the "Group Sales" line on the Iron Man
website. All of the tickets were paid for. It's hard to see what Marvel can possibly be complaining about. Also, I know for a fact that Arrington's event is hardly the only such event... because I got invited to a different one (also tomorrow, though at a different time and location and organized by a different group) and have a ticket on my desk for the show.
As a guess, perhaps Marvel is upset that Arrington made his an open invite system. The other showings I'm aware of are all private invite-only showings. But, even if that's true, it's rather ridiculous for Marvel to be complaining, and this is giving the company a ton of totally unnecessary bad press for an event that was generating plenty of enthusiasm and excitement for the movie. It appears to be yet another case where a lawyer is complaining because he can, and not because it's a good business move. As of right now, AMC Theatres, which sold Arrington the tickets, is standing behind the showing, and hopefully someone higher up at Marvel is figuring out what a ridiculous move this is, and will apologize by morning.