Fandango, the nation's largest movie ticket service, is ordering up more business in Southern California.
The Los Angeles company reached a deal to become the exclusive online and mobile ticketing partner for Pacific Theatres, which operates seven movie houses with a total of about 100 screens from Chatsworth to Lakewood. Its theater at the Grove, Pacific's box-office leader, is one of the highest-grossing in the country.
With the deal, Fandango will serve 2,000 screens in Southern California and boost its share of the regional market to 80%. Its control has grown over the last 18 months from 50%.
"Pacific Theatres is one of the leading entities in the exhibition business in California," said Paul Yanover, president of Fandango. "With this new partnership, Fandango is now able to help the vast majority of Southern Californians plan their movie experience from start to finish."
The deal represents another blow to rival MovieTickets.com, the Boca Raton, Fla., online ticket service that previously had a deal with Pacific Theatres.
Founded by AMC Theatres and Hollywood.com in 2000, MovieTickets.com has been losing market share to Fandango in recent years. Last year, it joined in a lawsuit against AMC after the nation's second-largest theater chain shifted its business to Fandango.
Pacific Theaters is the fifth theater chain to sign with Fandango this year; the others were Muvico, Studio Movie Grill, Krikorian Premiere Theatres and Penn Cinema.
Fandango also recently extended its five-year partnership with Regal Entertainment Group, the nation's largest theater chain owner, and now provides tickets for more than 21,000 screens nationwide.
"Fandango's online and mobile ticketing solutions create a stress-free experience for moviegoers, helping them see the movies they want with one quick and easy process," said Gretchen McCourt, executive vice president of Pacific Theatres.
Based in L.A., Pacific Theatres also operates the upscale ArcLight Cinemas chain, which is not included in the Fandango deal.
Fandango's growth has been fueled by changing consumer habits as more moviegoers find it convenient to order their tickets online or on a mobile device. Fandango usually charges a $1.25 fee per ticket.
Although Fandango does not disclose its sales figures, it said it is coming off its best-ever Fourth of July holiday weekend at the box office. Its total ticket sales increased 42% over last year's holiday weekend, the company said.
Mobile ticket sales for the holiday weekend rose 107% from a year earlier, it said, and last month, 44% of ticket sales came from mobile devices, a new monthly record for the company.
Over the last six months, Fandango also has launched several original video series, including the weekly movie recommendation show "Weekend Ticket" and a seasonal video series profiling the summer's biggest blockbusters that is co-hosted by Tiffany Smith and mixed martial arts fighter Chuck Liddell.