Ticket sales at the box office have continued to fall as more people move to popular streaming options for their film fix. The movie studios are taking this seriously and Twentieth Century Fox, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp, and Walt Disney Co. are investing more than $50 million dollars into a mobile application called Atom Tickets. Slickdealers may recognize the name from recent promotions like the B1G1 Power Rangers tickets or the many $5 off discount codes that have popped up. I decided to give the Atom Tickets service a try to see if there are any plot twists that you should be aware of.
How Does Atom Tickets work?
The basic concept of the Atom service is simple: make it as easy as possible for you to find movies and purchase tickets or even concessions. The mobile application is very slick and uses a rotary interface to help you browse movies in categories such as “New Releases” or “Special Events.” Once you have found one (or several) movies, you can “Rally your Friends.” This feature sends an invite to your contacts with your movie suggestions and a four hour time frame of when you want to see the film. Your friends will then have to sign up for the Atom service to buy tickets and confirm they are going.
I fired up the Atom Tickets application and invited a friend to vote on when we should take a nostalgia trip to see the Power Rangers movie. Once invited, everyone in the group can see who else is going and even post in a group chat within the Atom application. My friend and I confirmed a time and place, and were able to buy tickets, popcorn and an over-priced beverage. Thankfully, there was no issue using one of the $5 discount promo codes listed on Slickdeals to help stomach the inflated food prices. Atom Tickets added a processing fee of around 7%, but food and ticket prices remained the same as if we had bought them at the theater. (Atom also takes into account matinee, children’s and senior prices as well.) Purchasing concessions ahead of time is currently available at a limited number of theaters, but should be expanding to most partnered establishments.
I arrived at the theater about 30 minutes early and the Atom Tickets application suggested I have the theater prepare my concession order. The app also brought up a notification with the QR code for the tickets as we approached the start time. The particular theater we were at had a special line marked for “Atom Concessions Pick-up” to grab your order once the app alerts you that it’s ready. Somewhat expectantly, we stood there alone and had to flag down an employee from the other normal lines to help us, but our order was ready and waiting as soon as we got the employee’s attention. Also, expect some confused looks from other patrons as you are treated to the “VIP status” of having your food ready. There were no issues with scanning the QR code to enter the movie theater and we were even prompted to give a movie review in the Atom app when exiting the theater. (I gave Power Rangers a gracious 3 out of 5 in case you’re curious.)
Is Atom Tickets legit?
While I was a little skeptical about Atom Tickets at first, there are a few signs that it’s not just another fly-by-night ticketing service. Beyond tickets and concessions, members can also integrate programs like AMC Stubs, Regal Crown Club or Carmike Rewards into the app. And while theater variety is currently limited to mostly higher-end establishments (likely due to the cost of integration with Atom), the level of financial backing from movie studios and popular theater chains show that the market is serious about driving the success of Atom Tickets.
Differentiating From the Competition
At this point, you may be asking yourselves what was wrong with Fandango or MovieTickets.com. While there is nothing inherently broken with those services, the studios are trying to get people back into theater seats and Atom Tickets seems to be the way forward by making a trip to the theater as effortless as possible. Popular services like Fandango don’t allow you to coordinate with friends or integrate voting into your plans. Plus, offering concessions sales ahead of time is a novel time-saving feature.
Whether all of this innovation will lead to increased ticket sales is yet to be seen, but in the meantime, Atom tickets offers a better and more stream-lined experience for those of us who do want to gaze up at an IMAX screen with some over-priced snacks.