Hollywood Studios Leading $50M Investment in Mobile Movie Ticketing App

Movie Theater Interior - H 2012
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Movie Theater Interior - H 2012

Startup Atom Tickets is designed to make it easier for friends and larger groups to arrange a rendezvous at the theater.

A trio of Hollywood studios are leading a $50 million investment in startup Atom Tickets, an online movie ticketing app that's set to launch this summer, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

Atom is designed to increase moviegoing among friends and groups by polling preferences and suggesting times that are good for everyone. The app also allows users to buy concessions. And if theaters consent, discounts could kick in depending upon the number of tickets bought by a given group.

"The Atom Tickets app and platform is bringing innovation to the ticketing market by empowering social networks and mobile devices to make the movie-going experience seamless and convenient,” said Kevin Mayer, Chief Strategy Officer of The Walt Disney Company. “Their technology not only adds value to the consumer, they will also help movie studios and theatres by providing dynamic pricing, advanced analytics, and concession and ticket couponing.”

Fox, along with Disney and Lionsgate, are the three studios helping to back the Santa Monica-based Atom, founded by Ameesh Paleja, who serves as CEO, and film financing veteran Matthew Bakal, who serves as chairman. The app is now being tested in several markets with the participation of Regal and Carmike cinemas.

Leading online ticket service Fandango, owned by NBCUniversal, also offers a mobile app, but Atom stands apart in that it it allows consumers to communicate directly about buying tickets to a particular showing. And one person doesn't have to buy all the tickets. 

Working with theaters, Atom is also testing the idea of offering discounted prices for screenings having trouble filling seats.

Currently, online ticket sales account for about 15 percent of all movie tickets sold.  

“We believe that Atom Tickets has the potential to revolutionize the way audiences go to the movies, and we’re delighted to partner with blue chip studios like Disney and Fox in this cutting edge initiative for the theatrical business," said Lionsgate Vice Chairman Michael Burns.  “More than four billion seats go unsold in theatres each year, and Matthew, Ameesh and the Atom team have developed a state-of-the-art app that offers exciting new opportunities to pre-purchase tickets and concessions as well as paving the way for the successful introduction of dynamic ticket pricing.”

Lionsgate led Atom Ticket's Series A funding. The investment in Atom was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.