NEW YORK — MovieFone Inc. shares rose as much as 37% intraday after the largest U.S. movie ticketing service expanded its ties with three of the nation's top theater chains and said it expects record usage of its service this year.
The shares of the New York-based company ended up $1.94 higher at $13.75 on Nasdaq.
MovieFone, which sells tickets over the telephone and the Internet, expects usage to rise 30% to 110 million user sessions this year.
The company also expanded its relationships with Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corp., United Artists Theatre Circuit and AMC Entertainment Inc., adding 1,000 screens to the total for which MovieFone sells tickets.
The 10-year-old company said its service will now cover about 60% of all movie screens in the top five movie markets, including New York, Los Angeles and Boston.
"Lots of theater chains are recognizing that the public is moving toward nontraditional forms of getting information," said Andrew Jarecki, chief executive of MovieFone.
Jarecki said MovieFone now covers 38 cities and expects to expand that by 10 over the next year.
MovieFone lets consumers order tickets by phone by dialing 777-FILM or on the Internet through http://www.movielink.com. It generates about 80% of its revenue by selling advertising to movie studios.