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Fandango sees 65pc ticket sales via mobile for Fifty Shades

Movie ticket marketplace Fandango saw record-breaking ticket sales come from mobile devices this past weekend, following the premiere of Universal Pictures’ film Fifty Shades of Grey.

Fandango attributes its success to millennial behavior along with the long, holiday weekend contributing to the high numbers achieved on mobile. With the combination of Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day shaping millennials’ weekend plans, those consumers were more likely to venture to the Fandango mobile app to check movie times.

In an interview prior to the film’s opening weekend, a Fandango executive spoke to Mobile Commerce Daily about mobile ticket sales predictions.

“It will be a mobile weekend for us,” said Adam Rockmore, vice president of marketing at Fandango, Los Angeles. “Given the holiday weekend, we expect a huge spike in mobile sales, because it will be a big evening out for millennials.”

Watching for millennials
As predicted, Fandango’s mobile ticket sales reached new highs.

Furthermore, Fandango sold 29 percent of the film’s tickets for its opening weekend, which marks the largest share of weekend sales for any movie in Fandango’s 15-year history.

The records achieved include the most tickets sold on Valentine’s Day and the top-selling R-rated movie debut on Fandango.

Fandango’s 29 percent share of all domestic ticket sales for Fifty Shades of Grey, which took in a projected three-day domestic box office of $85 million, also breaks the previous record held by The Hunger Games in 2012, when Fandango sold 22 percent of that film’s domestic opening weekend.

“Fandango played an important role in helping moviegoers see Fifty Shades on the big screen this weekend,” said Paul Yanover, president of Fandago, Los Angeles. “Fandango’s record box office share demonstrates that online and mobile ticketing is becoming a habit and a welcome convenience for consumers wanting to plan the perfect movie night.”

Active on mobile
This particular film, attracting mostly younger audiences, aimed its marketing efforts on mobile, knowing where its customers are.

Leading up to the premiere, Fifty Shades of Grey was supported with a social campaign that drove users to a mobile app, which garnered hundreds of thousands of users while driving record-breaking, pre-release ticket sales through Fandango.

The campaign helped to collect the highest pre-release ticket sales of all time for an R-rated movie, which were higher than The Hunger Games and both The Hangover Part II and Part III. In regards to app engagement, the Fifty Shades app generated more than 2.7 million API calls per day, all routed through Kinvey, a backend-as-a-service provider, instead of burdening NBCUniversal’s infrastructure with a transient app.

Fifty Shades of Grey was a literary sensation that led to a film adaptation that has been garnering a significant amount of attention on its own.

The multi-platform experience activated multiple social initiatives across the film’s marketing campaign, and Stradella Road and Universal Pictures chose Kinvey to power the app.

The app engaged hundreds of thousands of users and was part of Universal Pictures’ multi-pronged promotional program contributing to the film, achieving the highest pre-release tickets sales of any R-rated movie, according to Fandango (see story).

Mr. Rockmore’s predictions proved to be correct.

“Millennials drive mobile participation,” Mr. Rockmore said. “A lot of people will think, “Oh, I need to make plans,’ and will therefore make plans on the fly.

“They’ll check out our app and book a ticket before getting to the theatres.”

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York