Fandango Buys Flixster, Rotten Tomatoes

Fandango, the movie ticket buying service that’s part of NBCUniversal, dipped into the M&A poll again and, this time, pulled out Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes.

Flixster operates a web site and mobile app for discovering movies, and claims to have more than 50 million app installs. Rotten Tomatoes, a service that collects and aggregates audience and critic ratings and reviews for movies and TV shows, will be extending its ticketing capabilities to the Flixster app in the coming months. Notably, NBCU corporate cousin Comcast has integrated Rotten Tomatoes rankings with its X1 platform.

Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes, which reach 20 million unique visitors per month, will remain consumer-facing brands, Fandango said.

Fandango, which is acquiring those properties from Warner Bros. Entertainment, announced the deals less than a month after locking up M-GO, the movie and TV electronic sell-through/rental multiscreen service that was a J.V. of Technicolor and DreamWorks Animation. Fandango said M-GO will be rebranded later this year and become part of Fandango’s digital network.

As a result of the deals for Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes, Warner Bros Entertainment will take a minority equity stake in Fandango and become a strategic partner.

Fandango, which will continue to operate as a unit of NBCU, said its recent string of deals will enable it to expand its core theatrical ticketing business and “create the industry’s premier digital network for all things movies.”

“Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes are invaluable resources for movie fans, and we look forward to growing these successful properties, driving more theatrical ticketing and super-serving consumers with all their movie needs,” Fandango president Paul Yanover said in a statement. “Our new expanded network will offer unparalleled capabilities for all of our exhibition, studio and promotional partners to reach a massive entertainment audience with innovative marketing and ticketing solutions that benefit from original content, home entertainment products, ‘super tickets’, gifts with purchase, and other new promotional opportunities.”

“Combining the expertise and assets of Fandango, Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes will create an incredible resource for consumers to fulfill all their moviegoing needs,” added Thomas Gewecke, chief digital officer and EVP, strategy and business development at Warner Bros. “Bringing these properties together into a single, integrated portfolio creates an opportunity to truly accelerate innovation in movie discovery and ticketing, making moviegoing an even more compelling experience.”