A tech startup that's aiming to make going to the movies more social and more convenient expanded into Tampa Bay this week.
Atom Tickets lets users invite friends to a movie, purchase tickets, split the cost, and order and pay for popcorn and candy ahead of time via its iOS and Android app. At the theater, users go directly to the usher or the concession counter and bypass the regular lines. They can even specify heavy or light butter before they get there.
The app launched in select markets such as Los Angeles and Atlanta in April, and on Monday became available in several new cities including all of Tampa Bay, Miami, Orlando, Dallas, Houston and Kansas City, Mo.
Earlier this year, the company announced partnership deals with theater giants Regal Cinemas and AMC Theatres. This week they added Studio Movie Grill, which operates one local theater, at Tampa's University Mall, to the company's roster of partners.
They're not the first app in the category. Fandango, which operates the movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, lets fans buy tickets in advance at some theaters, though Atom says it aims to take it a step farther with the snack ordering and social planning features.
The app also provides showtimes and reviews, and will recommend movies based on user data, similar to the way that streaming services such as Netflix and Pandora recommend music and TV shows.
When new users download and register through the app, their first movie ticket is free, an Atom Tickets news release said. The free app is available through the Google Play and Apple App stores.