TOLDJA! Here’s more proof that the movie multiplexes were busy this Christmas Day. That’s when Fandango says it broke its own 12-year company record for most tickets sold in a single day. The previous record-holder for the online service was May 4th when The Avengers opened. “Our record-breaking sales point to a tremendous variety of holiday film choices that are connecting with audiences,” Paul Yanover, President of Fandango, said in a statement.
Both Fandango and MovieTickets are reporting huge advance online sales for Universal‘s Les Misérables. Fandango says it’s the #1 advance ticket-seller among all Christmas Day releases, surpassing previous record-holder Sherlock Holmes (2009) as well as the #1 advance ticket-seller among movie musicals, surpassing previous record-holder Dreamgirls (2006). MovieTickets compiled a week-long survey and found that 52% of 4,358 poll participants said they were most excited to see the film adaptation of the global stage musical over the next three weekends. The Weinstein Company/Sony’s Django Unchained from Quentin Tarantino scored 24%, Paramount’s Jack Reacher starring Tom Cruise placed 16.5%, and Paramount’s The Guilt Trip with Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen made 7.5%. MovieTickets also asked how many movies its buyers planned on seeing over the holiday season, with 49% of the 5,132 respondents saying 1-2 films over the next three weekends, 26.6% saying 3-4 films, 17.3% saying more than 5 films, and 7.1% saying no films.
The movie website’s new correspondent and Oscar guru Dave Karger hosts the weekly digital video series that offers news, commentary and interviews focused on awards season. He will be chatting it up with likely awards contenders and offer predictions, day-of-nomination reactions, and Hollywood buzz. The first three episodes are available for viewing now on Fandango‘s Awards Watch site; Argo‘s Ben Affleck is the inaugural guest. The Frontrunners is the first of several original video series NBCUniversal-owned Fandango is set to unveil in the coming months. In October, it announced three projects in development, one of which, Honored, became Frontrunners.
As the latest James Bond film Skyfall nears its U.S. bow Friday, Fandango today is reporting the Sony/MGM movie is selling twice as many tickets as its predecessor, 2008′s Quantum Of Solace, sold at the same point in the film’s sales cycle. Skyfall represented 53% of this week’s sales so far on the movie site heading into today. Quantum Of Solace grossed $168.4M during its U.S. run and $586.1M globally, with Skyfall already well on track to top that with record bows in its current overseas run.
Fandango has signed an exclusive ticketing deal with New Orleans-based regional exhibitor Southern Theatres. This adds 300 screens in key Southeast territories — and marks just the latest takeaway from longtime rival MovieTickets.com. Though MovieTickets has been ceding ground in the U.S., its international presence has grown with online ticketing for nearly 250 exhibitors available in 17 territories. Fandango, meanwhile, has been content to focus on dominating domestically, with other recent Stateside sign-ups including Bartlett Cinemas, Memphis Cinemas, Cinetopia, TriStone Cinemas, and CineLux.
Fandango has wasted little time making use of Dave Karger, the former Entertainment Weekly Oscar guru that the movie site hired last week as chief correspondent. Not only will he be Fandango’s face to appear on parent company NBCUniversal properties like Today, Access Hollywood and other places, he now will host made-for-Fandango movie news shows, with three announced today in development. Here’s the release:
LOS ANGELES – October 2, 2012 – Fandango, the nation’s leading moviegoer destination, announced today a new development slate of original video series that will dramatically expand the company’s content offerings. The made-for-Fandango movie news shows will be hosted by movie expert and newly appointed Fandango Chief Correspondent Dave Karger.
“As a trusted entertainment brand that is synonymous with moviegoing, Fandango has a significant opportunity to play an even larger role in the content arena and meet the growing demand from both consumers and advertisers,” said Paul Yanover, Fandango’s new president. “With a major talent like Dave Karger as our movie expert, and Fandango’s extensive reach across the web, mobile and social media, we are extremely well positioned to launch our first-ever original video development slate.”
Working titles of the initial series in development with Dave Karger include:
– “Fanticipation,” a weekly show revealing the upcoming weekend’s top box office contenders and possible sleeper hits, based on proprietary insights and data from Fandango.
– “Honored,” an update, analysis and countdown show during awards season.
– “Unsung,” a series featuring some of biggest names in Hollywood introducing their feature film colleagues (character actor, dialect coach, costume designer, etc.) who deserve to share the spotlight.
LOS ANGELES – October 1, 2012 – Fandango, the nation’s leading moviegoer destination, has appointed former Disney digital executive Paul Yanover to the newly created position of President. He will report to Nick Lehman, President of Digital for NBCUniversal Entertainment Networks & Integrated Media.
Yanover will lead the company’s overall business strategy, taking Fandango to the next level of success as a multi-platform entertainment brand. Specifically, he will focus on significantly growing its original content offerings across mobile, TV and the Web, as well as expanding strategic partnerships with the movie studios, driving social engagement and building on Fandango’s strong e-commerce foundation. Yanover also will be charged with enhancing all aspects of the overall Fandango moviegoing experience, as the company continues to innovate with new products that shape the future of the industry.
It’s a blow for Entertainment Weekly, and a coup for NBC/Universal-owned Fandango. They’ve hired away EW’s Oscar guy Dave Karger, who for the last two years has been the Red Carpet greeter for AMPAS (a job my late Variety colleague Army Archerd had for years), and Karger is good on the tube. He’ll be Fandango’s face as he appears on Today, Access Hollywood, E! Entertainment and an array of other outlets. I’ve always liked his work and appreciate the fact that he’s not an egotistical blowhard like a lot of the so called pundits out there. Here’s Fandango’s release:
NEW YORK & LOS ANGELES – September 27, 2012 – Fandango, the nation’s leading moviegoer destination, announced today that it has appointed film expert Dave Karger to the newly created role of Chief Correspondent. The hiring of Karger, a 17-year veteran and senior writer from Entertainment Weekly who also served as the Academy’s official Red Carpet Greeter for the 2011 and 2012 Oscars, is a key part of Fandango’s strategy to be a multi-platform entertainment brand. He will report to Hilary Smith, SVP of Digital Communications and Integrated Media Marketing for NBCUniversal’s Entertainment & Digital Networks and Integrated Media division.
“Dave has a well-deserved nationwide following as one of the industry’s most dynamic and respected film and awards authorities,” said Smith. She added, “Bringing him to Fandango in this newly created position is a game-changer for the brand, as the business builds
UPDATED: Fandango and MovieTickets.com are opening for business six weeks before the finale in Summit Entertainment‘s franchise is released — The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 hits theaters November 16. Advance tickets for the November 15 “Twilight Marathon”, where all five films of The Twilight Saga will be shown in order at select theaters, also go on sale October 1. Fandango recently conducted a survey on its site that found 32% of more than 1000 moviegoers picked Breaking Dawn Part 2 as their most anticipated film of the fall season.
AMC Entertainment passed up the opportunity to share its side of its dispute with MovieTickets.com before we ran our in-depth account of the fascinating behind-the-scenes story on Monday. MovieTickets and its backers — Hollywood Media and National Amusements — filed a breach of contract suit against AMC in Florida tied to its February decision to move its online ticketing business to Fandango. But the No. 2 exhibition company has had second thoughts. It provided us with a statement this evening. AMC says that it was “entitled” to terminate its ticketing arrangement with MovieTickets, which it co-founded — a claim that the venture disputes. The statement doesn’t address the many details we cited from the second amended complaint. Nor does it deal with a key charge: that AMC executives who sat on MovieTickets’ board violated their fiduciary responsibilities to their partners by privately working to undermine the venture. Here’s AMC’s response in full:
“Deadline’s recent article merely repeats the many desperate, false and unsubstantiated claims Movietickets.com has made in the litigation. The truth is AMC proposed several ways to make the relationship work for both AMC Theatres and Movietickets.com by modernizing the business model and improving the customer experience around buying tickets for a movie. Unfortunately, we were unable to reach an agreement, and AMC terminated its ticketing arrangement with Movietickets.com as it was entitled to do. AMC has been, is and will in the future remain focused on
EXCLUSIVE: It sure looks that way based on the eye-opening — and, up to now, undisclosed — stories of hardball gamesmanship that MovieTickets tells the Circuit Court in Palm Beach, Fla., in its breach of contract suit against AMC Entertainment. The online ticketing company and its backers — ad and ticket sales company Hollywood Media, and Sumner Redstone‘s National Amusements — say in the second amended complaint filed last month that the No. 2 theater chain, a founding member, engaged in “unconscionable, unfair, and deceptive acts and practices.” They culminated in AMC’s decision in February to move its online business to Comcast-owned Fandango. The plaintiffs add that MovieTickets’ “current viability has been threatened” by AMC. But if they prevail, then AMC might have to return to the fold and pay as-yet unspecified damages. That could belie the claim by The New York Times and its followers in the trade press that the online ticket sales competition is already over, with Fandango the winner. Even though AMC switched sides, it noted in an SEC filing on Friday that it still owns 26.2% of MovieTickets.
The online ticketer is poised to announce tomorrow that its second quarter was the best quarter in the company’s 12-year history, with ticket sales up 28% year over year and traffic up 26%. Mobile traffic is up 107% year-over-year, and 27% of ticket sales during the quarter came from Fandango’s mobile site and app. The news comes as the company finalized a partnership with MSN during the quarter, joining recent pacts with Yahoo and AOLMoviefone as well as with movie chains AMC, Regency and Carmike. It also comes during the period when Marvel’s The Avengers bowed and became the third-highest-grossing domestic release of all time.
The huge success of Marvel’s The Avengers helped to propel 12-year-old Fandango to its best-ever May results in traffic and ticket sales, the company says. Sales were up 47% vs. last May while the number of monthly visitors was up 29% to 34M. It was Fandango’s biggest tally for any month, with 28% of ticket sales coming from people using mobile devices. “Fandango’s record-setting May is yet another signal of the incredible momentum behind Fandango right now, says General Manager Rick Butler. In addition to the huge interest in The Avengers, Fandango was helped by recent deals with AMC Theatres, Regency Theatres and other chains, and partnerships that made it the movie ticketing provider for Yahoo! and AOL’s Moviefone. Fandango is owned by Comcast.
The most important technology change for theater owners has nothing to do with the quality of picture and sound. Their businesses will be far more affected by social media, based on comments at a lunch panel today at the industry’s CinemaCon convention. With the growing access to information on the Internet, and social networks led by Facebook, about 39% of movie-goers have an opinion about a film four weeks before it’s released — up from about 25% four years ago — according to Vincent Bruzzese, President Worldwide of the Motion Picture Group at Ipsos. “More than a third of moviegoers have decided whether to see a movie before your TV campaign even starts,” he says. Studios are paying attention: “When we look at a film campaign it’s about identifying influencers upfront,” says T.J. Marchetti, SVP of digital marketng for Walt Disney Studios. For example, he notes that Finding Nemo — which will be re-released in 3D this fall — has 12M fans on Facebook. The studio has also generated online buzz by having stars of The Avengers attend about 15 pre-release screenings, and having director Steven Spielberg answer audience questions from about 60 theaters showing War Horse. “It’s hard to do; you can’t do it for everything,” Marchetti says. But when it works it can “empower people and have them be your evangelists.”
The pacts with Cinemark and Regency Cinemas add 1.400 more screens to Fandango‘s paperless ticket service, more than doubling its offerings after the company already had deals with Regal Entertainment, Reading Cinemas and Hollywood Theatres. That brings the total screens using the service to more than 2,600. Fandango said 23% of its ticket sales are mobile-based. With paperless tickets, users receive a barcode on their phones, which can be taken directly to the theater’s ticket-taker. The news comes the same month the online ticketseller reported a record 127% increase in sales during first-quarter 2012, and just ahead of the year’s first tentpole summer movie, Marvel’s The Avengers, which opens May 4.
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LAS VEGAS/CINEMACON – April 24, 2012 – Fandango, the nation’s leading moviegoer destination, has extended its multi-year strategic agreement with founding partner Carmike Cinemas, Inc. (NASDAQ: CKEC), the nation’s premier “home town” motion picture exhibitor with 2,254 screens, just in time for the summer moviegoing season.
Movie-ticketing service Fandango released results of its “Most Anticipated Summer Movie Survey” today, and the top pick among survey participants should be a relief for the folks at Walt Disney Studios: The Avengers. This echoes previous pre-release surveys that anticipate an opening in the neighborhood of $125 million for the tentpole movie that features an array of superheroes from the Marvel stable. Disney, still smarting from the failure of John Carter to connect with a wide audience, will be especially gratified that the Marvel Comics mash-up was a top choice of both men and women. In a survey of “thousands” of Fandango users (the company didn’t provide speicific metrics), 31% of men picked The Avengers, followed by The Dark Knight Rises (23%), The Bourne Legacy (14%), Men In Black III (8%) and Prometheus (7%). Women weren’t quite as excited about The Avengers, ranking it second with 16% behind the year’s second Snow White film, Snow White And The Huntsman (22%). The list of most anticipated films for women rounds out with Men In Black III (13%), The Dark Knight Rises (10%) and Dark Shadows (8%). Notably, actor Chris Hemsworth turns up in two films on the list: The Avengers, where he plays Thor, and Huntsman.
The big online movie ticketseller Fandango today reported a huge 127% increase in ticket sales for first quarter 2012 compared to last year. That breaks the company record and is the best ever in the company’s nearly 12-year history. It also underscores the red-hot box office and shows how moviegoers are buying their tickets online via their computers, smart phones, and tablets. Fandango also reported a 58% year-over-year increase in monthly visitors (totaling 33 million), and a 23% surge in its top quarterly mobile percentage of total tickets sold. In turn, Fandango said it expanded exhibitor reach in the first quarter by 19%, with recent deals with AMC Theatres, Regency Theatres and other chains. It now sells tickets to nearly 20,000 screens nationwide. Fandango also said it recently signed a partnership deal with Yahoo, becoming the movie ticketing provider for all of the network’s sites. And Fandango also just launched a Facebook Timeline app dubbed “Movies with Friends” to help drive new traffic and fan engagement because it allows Fandango friends to share their moviegoing activities in real time. EVP/GM Rick Butler in a statement credited blockbusters like The Hunger Games for the increases. Fandango sold 22% of the March blockbuster’s opening weekend box office and, during peak periods, sold 60,000 tickets per hour.
Boca Raton, FL. February 8, 2012 – MovieTickets.com, Inc., the leading global online movie ticketing provider, joined a lawsuit against one of its founding shareholders, AMC Entertainment, Inc. The lawsuit was previously filed on behalf of National Amusements Inc. and Hollywood Media Corp., each founding shareholders of MovieTickets.com, in Circuit Court for Palm Beach County by prominent trial attorney, Eugene Stearns of Stearns, Weaver, Miller, Weissler, Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A. The plaintiffs have asked for a jury trial.
MovieTickets.com began 12 years ago when Hollywood Media Corp. along with two exhibitors, National Amusements Inc. and AMC entered into a Joint Venture Agreement in order to create and grow the company. MovieTickets.com has grown from its two founding exhibitors to 247 exhibitors in 19 countries/territories. The company added over 3,000 screens in 2011, bringing its total representation to 19,500 screens and nearly 20 million registered users. The company maintains a 99.6 percent exhibitor retention rate, and continues its growth trajectory on a global basis.