H’w’d.com, exhib pact

Movietickets.com bows Memorial Day weekend

Exhib giant National Amusements announced Thursday that it is joining AMC Entertainment and Hollywood.com as an equal partner in new online ticketing service Movietickets.com, launching Memorial Day weekend.

New partner will bring access to an additional 2,200 screens, pushing the total available for online ticket purchasing to 4,400 — more than double the number initially projected by AMC and Hollywood.com (Daily Variety, Feb. 17).

With Hollywood.com chair and CEO Mitchell Rubenstein and AMC chair and CEO Peter Brown as co-chairs of the new company, National Amusements prexy Shari E. Redstone will serve on the Movietickets.com board of directors — along with National Amusements VP and general counsel Tad Jankowski, Hollywood.com prexy Laurie Silvers, and AMC chief financial officer Craig Ramsey.

Still courting

Movietickets.com plans to continue courting additional exhibs for participation in the site, using as a draw its link to Hollywood.com’s large visitor base and 1 million pages of entertainment-oriented content.

Execs put the venture’s total capital requirements at roughly $3 million, a figure revised from initial projections of less than $1 million. Details on the amount of National Amusements’ cash investment, if any, were not available late Thursday.

National Amusements operates more than 1,350 screens in the U.S., the U.K., and Latin America (under the names Showcase Cinemas and Multiplex Cinemas). AMC operates 210 theaters with 2,868 screens in the U.S., Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Portugal, Spain and France. Hollywood.com shareholders include CBS, Gannett and Times Mirror.

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