Film studios and theaters are trying to convince more people to spend a night out at the movies with a new app backed by some of Hollywood’s biggest players. The app, Atom Tickets, could make it easier to organize a movie trip with friends, while also shaving dollars off ticket prices.
Atom Tickets focuses on improving the movie ticket-purchasing process on mobile phones, reports the Wall Street Journal. Users can poll friends about what movies they want to see, then buy a block of tickets all at once. Friends pay for their portion of the tickets within the app, cutting down on the need to send coordinating texts or pay back a buddy.
Theaters will also have the option of introducing variable pricing so that ticket prices are cheaper if users buy a large number in bulk, or if a theater is trying to encourage more people to see a movie that flopped at the box office.
Theaters have been reticent to try variable pricing in the past, as they fear it may make people less willing to pay normal prices. But ticket sales have been on a general downward slope for years—2015 was buoyed by the blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but in 2014 admissions dropped to a two-decade low. Theaters and studios alike have said they’re now willing to test out the variable pricing model.
Atom Tickets is backed by Disney, Twentieth Century Fox and Lions Gate Entertainment, who are leading a $50 million funding round for the startup. However, the new company will have its work cut out making inroads in the world of online ticket sales, which is currently dominated by the Comcast-owned Fandango. Atom is planning a nationwide launch this summer.
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