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‘Star Trek Beyond’ Turns to Upstart Atom Tickets for Theater Promo

Paramount Pictures is looking to supercharge “Star Trek Beyond” ticket sales — in a few select markets in the U.S. and Canada — under a two-week marketing pact with Atom Tickets, a studio-backed mobile-ticketing provider.

For Atom, the deal is its first “360 degree” campaign with a studio partner covering multiple promotional elements. The startup’s execs have their fingers crossed that the campaign will demonstrate the power of its socially oriented, mobile-first ticketing service.

Launching ahead of the movie’s July 22 debut, the “Star Trek Beyond” campaign with Atom Tickets will feature a 15-second co-branded in-theater spot will run over a two-week period at AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas where Atom Tickets is live. As part of the promo, first-time Atom users are eligible to get one free ticket to “Star Trek Beyond” (subject to availability and terms and conditions).

In addition, the Atom app will have an exclusive one-minute video clip with director Justin Lin and stars Chris Pine (Captain James Kirk) and Karl Urban (Doctor ‘Bones’ McCoy) discussing the film. Atom Tickets also will offer concession promotions, like a free popcorn, to “Stark Trek Beyond” ticket purchasers.

“We believe Atom Tickets will strike a chord with audiences and we are excited to support an innovative company that will strengthen the theatrical movie business,” Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore said in a statement. “Their modern and easy-to-use platform is the very first to create a social experience around going to the movies.”

Atom, which began rolling out this spring, is looking to grab share from movie-ticketing rivals NBCUniversal’s Fandango and MovieTickets.com. The startup touts the service’s ability to invite groups of friends to see a movie together and also prepay for concessions — all through an app execs say is designed to be as simple to use and as elegant as Uber’s or Starbucks’ pre-ordering app.

But today, Atom’s footprint is much smaller than its rivals: The service sells tickets for about 450 theaters in North America, covering close to 5,900 screens. Atom Tickets is currently available at Regal Cinemas and AMC Theatres in Southern California (L.A., Orange County and San Diego), Atlanta and Nashville, Tenn., as well as Canada’s Landmark Cinemas and a few other theaters.

Atom Tickets, which is backed by Disney, 20th Century Fox and Lionsgate, says the real difference of its approach is the ability to boost the size of groups going to the movies. The average moviegoing group is 2.3 people, according to Nielsen, and growing that number can mean millions more at the box office and in concession sales, said Matthew Bakal, Atom Tickets’ executive chairman and co-founder.

“We’re going to go back in after everything’s done and see, did we get conversion up by a few percentage points for screenings,” Bakal said.

Atom Tickets has executed promotions with a handful of movies to date, but Bakal said the “Star Trek Beyond” is the company’s first one to encompass the multiple elements of in-app exclusive content, commercial spots and concession promotions.

“The excitement for us is to get more installs and more users,” said Bakal, who claimed Atom has hundreds of thousands of users. “Paramount sees the value in our platform to bring people back to the in-theater experience and drive some ‘event-ism’ around the movie. We all want butts in the seats.”

Here’s the 15-second promo spot for “Star Trek Beyond” and Atom Tickets, which will run in theaters and online:

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