The movie industry is gearing up for another mega-weekend at the box office. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” will continue to draw crowds, and there’s a batch of new releases like “Joy” with Jennifer Lawrence and “The Revenant” with Leonardo DiCaprio.
These are good times for the movie business, with revenue expected to top a record $11 billion this year. All this big screen success is having a nice ripple effect through the industry, online ticketing companies like Fandango and MovieTickets.com are reaping the benefits of the increased traffic.
“This is obviously going to be our best year ever,” said Fandango spokesperson Harry Medved. The company said it sold one out of every three tickets for “The Force Awakens” on opening weekend. Medved said Fandango ticket-sale business has grown about 70 percent year-over-year, compared to about six or seven percent at the traditional box office.
“One of the reasons why online ticketing has taken off of course is because of mobile,” said Medved. “More than 50 percent of the tickets sold on Fandango these days are from mobile devices.”
Paul Dergarabedian is a senior analyst for Rentrak, which follows the movie industry and says, “We’ve had just an incredible box office year of 2015, from beginning to end, with records broken in almost every month of this year,” which means ripple benefits for the concessions and ticketing companies that serve theaters.
Those record-breaking revenue numbers are driven at least partially by higher ticket prices — people are willing to pay more for cushy seats, 3-D and cocktail service — but they also want the kind of insurance online ticketing sites can offer: a guaranteed good seat.
April Mendoza is with luxury theater chain Cinépolis USA. “I feel like when you are able to reserve in advance, it feels more like an outing, something special,” she said, comparing the modern movie-going experience to heading out for a night at a nice restaurant.
Mendoza said viewers also like the convenience of buying tickets online, especially during the busy holidays.
“No longer do you need to stand out in the cold to get the best seats,” she said. Although, this year, movie-goers on the unusually balmy East Coast won’t have to worry about that anyway.