Six Theater Chains Join to Sell Tickets Online

FRAMINGHAM (03/09/2000) - Six major movie theater chains have teamed up to form a company to sell tickets, offer movie reviews and provide show times via the Internet, telephone and wireless devices.

The theater companies, including New York-based Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corp., have formed a partnership with two venture capital firms, General Atlantic Partners in Greenwich, Conn., and Accretive Technology Partners in New York, which will invest $30 million in the venture.

"It make sense from the point of view that the Internet can create a one-to-one, or one-to-many relationship, so why do they need an intermediary to sell tickets (for them)?" said Alan Alper, an e-commerce analyst at Gomez Advisors Inc. in Lincoln, Mass.

The goal of the newly formed company, which hasn't yet been named, is to "use technology and the Internet to greatly enhance the movie-going experience of our customers," Loews CEO Lawrence Ruisi said in a statement. "It is clear that as technology develops and our customers become more accustomed to the convenience of remote ticketing, a growing number of tickets will be sold over the Internet, telephone and wireless devices."

The new company, which will have a separate board of directors and independent management team, will begin selling tickets this summer.

The other theater chains involved in the venture are Regal Cinemas Inc. in Knoxville, Tenn.; Cinemark Theatres in Plano, Texas; General Cinema Theatres, a unit of GC Cos. in Chestnut Hill, Mass.; Edwards Theatres in Newport Beach, Calif.; and Century Theatres in San Rafael, Calif.