MovieTickets.com Pacts with Digital Fan-Engagement Startup Kernel (Exclusive)

Kernel, a startup seeking to sell movie fans on exclusive content, tickets and products ahead of blockbuster releases, has inked a deal with MovieTickets.com for the purchase of advance movie tickets.

Under the pact, Kernel will begin selling theater tickets to all movies on Kernel.com and its mobile app in the first quarter of 2016 exclusively through MovieTickets.com. That will give Kernel access to online-ticketing for 28,000 screens in 22 countries; in addition, MovieTickets.com will be able to leverage Kernel’s exclusive fan experiences and merchandise.

“Our user base and studio partners have been asking us to expand our ticketing capability both here and overseas,” said Dave Harvilicz, co-founder and CEO of Kernel.

Kernel powered Sony’s direct-to-consumer streaming site for “The Interview” last December, and recently worked with 20th Century Fox on “Maze Runner” to offer fans who pre-ordered tickets collectible gear and the chance to win a set visit for the franchise’s next installment. Kernel also has been running a program for Sony’s “The 5th Wave,” starring Chloe Grace Moretz. The movie, based on the young-adult novel by Rick Yancey, is slated to hit theaters Jan. 15, 2016.

“Studios have found that the consumers most eager unlock the merchandise and VIP experiences we offer in exchange for ticket pre-orders are millennials and post-millennials,” Harvilicz said.

Kernel, based in Santa Monica, Calif., was founded by Harvilicz, formerly a writer for the Huffington Post, and web developer Andy Martinez. The company’s lead investor is Whole Foods Markets co-founder John Mackey, who sit on Kernel’s advisory board with Roy Salter, a Hollywood veteran who is senior managing director at FTI Consulting, and Activision Blizzard COO Thomas Tippl.

For MovieTickets.com, the deal adds another partner to its expanding list of digital points of sales. “Kernel presents a unique opportunity for moviegoers and MovieTickets.com users,” said CEO Joel Cohen. “We’re pleased to be a key component in their efforts and look forward to working closely with them.”

MovieTickets.com, which competes with NBCUniversal’s Fandango, is backed by Hollywood Media, National Amusements, Cineplex Entertainment, Regal Entertainment Group, Marcus Theatres, Viacom and Time Warner.

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