RealTime IT News

Fandango Heads Off An End Run

Movie ticketing company Fandango, which sells theater tickets online and by phone, says it has thwarted an end-run by AOL Moviefone allegedly aimed at snagging one of its movie theater partners.

Santa Monica, Calif.-based Fandango, which sells advance movie tickets and is testing print-at-home ticketing, counted the bankrupt Loews-Cineplex Entertainment theater chain among its partners.

Privately held Fandango said that a federal bankruptcy court judge in New York has ruled in its favor in a dispute with AOL MovieFone, America Online's entry in the movie ticketing arena.

Loews and AOL were sued by Fandango in April, accused of attempting to score an exclusive movie ticketing deal to circumvent the agreement that Fandango had with the theater chain.

The judge ruled Loews had to honor its contract with Fandango, rejecting a Loews motion to throw out the pact, Fandango said.

A spokesman for AOL Moviefone, which claims to be the largest such interactive movie ticketing operation, could not be reached for comment.

Fandango partners include Carmike Cinemas, Century Theatres, Cinemark Theatres, Edwards Theatres, Loews Cineplex Entertainment and Regal Cinemas, representing 12,300 movie screens - more than 46 percent of the U.S. theater market.

AOL Moviefone, a unit of AOL Time Warner , says on its site that it works with Loews Cineplex Entertainment, United Artists Theatres, AMC Theatres, Mann Theatres, City Cinemas, Pacific Theatres Clearview Cinemas, Harkins Theatres, Classic Cinemas and Colorado Cinemas.

"Loews is one of our original exhibitors and a valued partner," said Art Levitt, president and CEO of Fandango, which claims to be "the fastest-growing movie-ticketing company." The company's investors include Accretive Technology Partners and General Atlantic Partners.