Groupon Teams Up With AMC to Drive Mobile Payments & Theater Patronage

December 6, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

Been to the movies lately? I haven’t. Last time I saw a movie in theaters was Geostorm. I do most of my movie watching at home, where I can pause for bathroom breaks at any time and decide my choice of snacks. Plus, no kids kicking the back of my seat. This kind of development isn’t sitting well with theaters, though, and a recent move between Groupon and AMC Theaters is looking to get butts back in the seats.

AMC and Groupon have set up a distribution partnership, which will bring AMC tickets to the popular discount coupon platform. Since AMC has a major presence in some of the biggest theater markets in the United States—Chicago, Los Angeles and New York in particular—it’s a move that should garner plenty of attention. The partnership will go live sometime in the first half of 2019, likely just ahead of summer blockbuster season, which I believe now starts sometime in March.

Groupon recently posted wider-than-expected losses for 2018’s second quarter, and has responded with a slew of new partnerships beyond AMC. Major League Baseball, Grubhub, CoreSource and more are just a few of the new partnerships minted here, so offering a wider variety of things to do looks to be a step on Groupon’s collective radar. With AMC also rapidly pursuing new growth vectors, like a movie subscription service that’s brought in over 400,000 subscribers so far, it’s clear that AMC isn’t taking the rise of the home theater lying down.

Seeing Groupon get involved with AMC is a reasonable outgrowth of trends we’ve already seen. It’s not hard, after all, to see how mobile can incorporate into the theater experience, especially given how much it’s changed in the last few years. Using your mobile device to order and pre-pay for tickets, to serve as a scan plate for validation at the theater, and even as a way to order concessions ahead of time for ready pickup is not only easily conceived of but often being done outright in other venues.

Adding Groupon to the roster only helps ensure that more theatergoers will be able to get in on the action down the line. AMC’s diversification—and Groupon’s—should help keep both firms up and running thanks to mobile payments’ capabilities.