TORONTO - Canadians who would like to own the films they've just seen at the theatre will soon have a chance to double-up at the box-office, as part of an agreement between Cineplex Inc. (TSX:CGX) and several major Hollywood studios.
The country's largest theatre chain is about the launch SuperTicket, a hybrid of both a movie admission and a digital download of the same film.
Here's how it works:
When moviewatchers buy their Cineplex ticket either online or at the box office, they'll also have the option to pre-order a digital copy of the same film. The online version will become available to them around the time it's headed to DVD.
The digital copies will be in UltraViolet, which allows sharing of the digital downloads on multiple devices like desktop, laptop and tablet computers or smartphones.
Cineplex says it's a first for the movie industry, which has been looking for new ways to boost sales of home entertainment, as the popularity of physical media begins to fade.
"The world is changing, the technology is changing," says Cineplex president and chief executive Ellis Jacob in an interview with The Canadian Press.
"People want things instantly and they want to be able to watch them on different devices. This provides them with all of those options."
Cineplex says it will launch SuperTicket at box-offices over the next month, right in the middle of the busy summer movie season.
Film distributors Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures and Paramount Pictures have already signed on. The studios are behind some of the summer's most hyped films, including "Pacific Rim," "The Smurfs 2" and Matt Damon sci-fi action film "Elysium."
Cineplex expects that other major studios will sign on for SuperTicket in the coming months.
"I'm convinced that by the end of the summer, we will have at least, if not all of them, 95 per cent of them," Jacob says.
SuperTicket includes both a movie ticket and a voucher for a pre-order of the digital download that can be redeemed on Cineplex's online store.
Once the voucher code is entered online, the company says it will store a record of the purchase in their database so that customers can access it at a later date.
Jacob says that if a customer purchases SuperTicket at the box-office and decides afterwards that the movie wasn't good, they can refund the digital download purchase.
Cineplex will announce the first SuperTicket movie at a later date.
The company's shares fell 15 cents to close at $33.72 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
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