Inside Move: ‘Matrix’ clicks online

Eager auds book new record for Net sales

For all the grumping about three-day box office for “The Matrix Reloaded” (which landed second in the record books behind “Spider-Man”), the pic can claim one definitive mark: best online sales ever.

At one point, Fandango.com was selling four tickets a second, $8 million worth in all.

Viacom-backed MovieTickets.com sold another $7.1 million worth, while Disney’s Movies.com says “Matrix” sales exceeded its previous champ –the second Harry Potter movie — by 62%.

The figures confirm that such sites’ most lucrative role is guaranteeing a seat for highly anticipated tentpole pics.

In turn, as consumers buy more tickets online, exhibs may consider adopting the European approach, selling assigned seats, at least for big pics.

Hardcore fans might pay not only for a seat, but a guaranteed prime seat, in a primetime screening. What’s it worth to skip waiting in line for hours or days?

Conversely, will exhibs and studios also experiment with lower prices for off-peak screenings and bad seats, or entice people to a smaller film by offering online bargains?

Critics jumped on Edgar Bronfman Jr. when he suggested variable pricing a few years back, and exhibs collectively yawned. But the blockbuster sales by online ticket dealers, and their technologies’ power, suggest it may be time to reconsider his proposal.

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