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Fathom Events Adding 200 Theaters to Live Broadcast Network (EXCLUSIVE)

Fathom Events is adding more than 200 theaters to its live digital broadcast network in North America over the
next 12 to 18 months, Variety has learned exclusively.

Fathom, which is jointly owned by the AMC, Cinemark and Regal chains, said the move will expand live event delivery capabilities to more than 1100 total cinemas and 1,700 screens across the U.S. The expansion and upgrade is part of an extended agreement with Dish Network for the delivery of both pre-recorded and live cinema events.

Fathom made the announcement Monday, the opening day of the CinemaCon convention of theater owners in Las Vegas, Nev. It said the network expansion will include adding theater locations and screens for current network exhibitors including AMC, Cinemark and Regal as well as new partners, including Harkins, Megaplex, Bow Tie and others. It said that capacity in major markets as well as new markets nationwide will be added based on historical event cinema performance data.

“This upgrade will change the way audiences experience content at their cinemas by providing access to live and pre-recorded event cinema content,” Fathom Events VP of Operations Lynne Schmidt said.

Fathom Events saw a surge last year in box office for its live events and one-night showings for theatrical chains as the  company topped the $1 million mark with 26 different events in 2017 — nearly double the 2016 mark. Nine of those were “Met Live” opera performances; another was the Mayweather vs McGregor boxing match.

Variety reported last month that Fathom Events and YouTube had set a one-night theatrical screening of “The Karate Kid” and an advance screening of the first two episodes from the new YouTube Red Original Series, “Cobra Kai,” based on the Karate Kid franchise at nearly 700 cinemas nationwide on April 25.

“The events we’ve shown in our theaters through Fathom have been incredibly successful and attract a variety of new audiences,” said Cal Gundersen, vice president and head film buyer for Megaplex Theatres. “We are thrilled to now be able to offer their full programming slate with the expansion of their live network into our theaters.”

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