Loews Cineplex Entertainment, Regal Cinemas, Cinemark Theaters, General Cinema Theaters, Edwards Theaters and Century Theaters are the founding members of the new company, with additional funding from venture firms General Atlantic Partners and Accretive Technology Partners.
With an initial investment of $30 million, the new company will provide a variety of services and information, such as remote ticketing, show times, movie reviews and movie trailers, via the Internet, telephone and wireless devices, the companies said in a statement. The companies plan to launch the new service this summer.
The announcement follows a similar move by AMC Entertainment and Hollywood.com, which formed a joint venture to sell movie tickets online in an effort to broaden its Web strategy and reach a greater number of customers. The new venture, called MovieTickets.com, will also provide movie reviews, trailers, soundtracks, entertainment news and show times for about 30,000 screens.
Last February, online giant America Online acquired MovieFone, the popular telephone and Internet movie ticketing service. AOL said the purchase would bolster its presence in the growing market for online entertainment information and ticketing. The company folded MovieFone into its Digital City community portal that offers local news and entertainment listings.
The six movie theater chains' venture has been established as an independent company with a separate board of directors and management team. The companies said they hired executive recruiting firm Ramsey Beirne to assist in the search for a chief executive officer and help fill out the senior management team.
The six theater chains operate a total of more than 12,000 movie screens in North America.