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Regal Cinemas Switching to Pepsi for Non-Alcoholic Beverages (EXCLUSIVE)

Pepsi will soon be the soft drink of choice for Regal Entertainment, Variety has learned.

The move is a blow to the Coca-Cola Company, which has long maintained a vice-like grip on the exhibition industry, supplying its products to most of the major chains, such as AMC and Cinemark. With the Regal pact, Pepsi will now be the exclusive non-alcoholic beverage provider for the country’s second largest theater chain. Regal has started the transition and hopes the move over to Pepsi products will be complete by this spring. In addition to Pepsi, other PepsiCo beverages including Mountain Dew, Lifewater, Bubly sparkling water, Pure Leaf and AMP Game Fuel will start to become available in the coming weeks.

“This is something where the stars aligned,” said John Curry, senior VP of foodservice for Regal. “Pepsi and Regal just share a mutual passion and excitement for the moviegoing experience.”

Regal already sells Frito Lay snacks, another PepsiCo brand, at its locations. However, Pepsi and Regal hope their partnership grows beyond food services. They say they will also offer exclusive limited-time product offers and entertainment sneak peeks, but they haven’t provided many specifics about how that will manifest.

“We’re looking to bring big name activations and experiences of the sort that Pepsi is famous for,” said Scott Finlow, chief marketing officer, PepsiCo Global Foodservice.

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Regal’s network includes 546 theaters with 7,178 screens. Through the deal, Pepsi has agreed to be the exclusive sponsor the company’s 4DX theaters — those are immersive venues that have moving seats and spray water, fog, and scents to enhance the on-screen action. Pepsi and Regal are also looking for opportunities to work together on augmented reality offerings, a space the chain has begun exploring.

Regal’s parent company already has a relationship with the soft drink provider. Cineworld, which acquired Regal in 2017, serves Pepsi at its U.K. locations. It may signal that Pepsi is looking for more opportunities to shoulder in on the movie theater business — a business that Coca-Cola has largely controlled.

“We love momentum and we think we’ve got some momentum now,” said Finlow. “This is a massive brand building opportunity for us.”

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