LIMA — Lima residents are some of the first who can experience a new app that creators hope will change Americans’ movie-going experience.
The app, launched six weeks ago, is called Atom Tickets and allows users to pick movie times, invite friends, buy tickets and purchase concessions before they get to the theater, and to skip the lines once they’re there.
“[We’re] using the best of e-commerce technology … the best ideas from Amazon and Netflix and other things that people love using and putting it into an app,” said co-founder Matthew Bakal. “There’s definitely something very special and sort of American about going out to a movie theater and we want to capture that.”
Regal American Mall Stadium 12 theater on Elm Street in Lima is one of two national test sites where the app can be used first.
Regal Entertainment Group, with a total of about 580 theaters in the country, selected its Lima location as its first test site for Atom Tickets because it wanted a city that is representative of America, Bakal said.
“We’re starting here,” Bakal said. “Lima was one where obviously there’s one theater in town, everybody knows that theater. It’s a pretty popular destination to go out at night and so they said let’s try it here.”
Users will get a free movie ticket just for downloading the free app during the next 10 weeks, as founders Bakal, Ameesh Paleja and Geoff Shaevitz want local users to try it and let the company know what they think.
“People are liking it from the feedback were getting,” Bakal said.
Bakal and Shaevitz came up with the idea for the app a few years ago, when they realized how hard it was to plan a movie with friends.
“We decided ‘let’s make it really easy to plan,’” Bakal said.
The two then got Paleja involved to help make it and launch it.
The application “brings all the information to the front and makes it really easy for you to plan your night at the movies,” Paleja said.
“There isn’t anything like it today that sort of helps you identify the movies you love based on past purchases, [and] identify movies your friends love and want to see,” Bakal said.
The app connects to social media to allow users to see their friends’ preferences and stores the users’ preferences and interests. It lets users invite groups of friends at once and then chat with them through the app.
“We want to tap into speaking with people the way they are used to communicating with their friends these days, through social media, on their phones,” Bakal said. “It’s inherently social.”
The application is compatible with Android, iPhones and can be used through mobile browsers.
The company, based in Santa Monica, has 15 employees and plans on hiring about 25 local brand ambassadors in addition to working with local companies and organizations to promote the application.
If it works well in Lima, Atom Tickets is hoping it will expand to other Regal theaters and theaters owned by other companies as well, though Lima will be one of the first to have it for about 12 weeks.
Those interested in applying to be local brand ambassadors can send their résumés to email@example.com.