The Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE:RGC) has updated its Android app to offer new features in addition to movie showtimes for its Regal Cinemas, Edwards Theatres and United Artists Theatres brands. The app now supports CinemaSync, a second-screen experience that runs in conjunction with the theater’s FirstLook promotion. FirstLook shows advertisements before film previews begin, as well as longer-form looks at forthcoming film and television projects.
The app promises exclusive videos, mini-games and the ability to interact with FirstLook promotions as moviegoers are seated before a movie. The app update also includes a scannable barcode version of the Regal Crown Club card, which works at all participating Regal Entertainment Group theaters.
I was unable to test the new feature, which requires the download of FirstLook Sync, a secondary app created by National CineMedia Inc. (NASDAQ:NCMI), the company behind FirstLook. While the app was available in the Google Play store, it crashed a few seconds after opening: I was using a Nexus 4 device on T-Mobile’s network. According to National CineMedia representatives, the Android app should still be considered “under construction.” The app is supposed to sync with the FirstLook “preshow” by recognizing audio in the theater.
Promotional content running before a movie is sometimes criticized for not allowing filmgoers “to leave one world behind to enter another,” as Andy Dehnart put it at Today.com. The CinemaSync app attempts to provide a second screen with exclusive content and advertisements to consumers distracted from the preshow content by their smartphones.
The app’s creators tout CinemaSync’s ability to remind smartphone users to turn off their phones when the show begins. (Along the same line, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain’s policy is a bit tougher: It has been known to kick out patrons for text-messaging during movies.)
The iOS version of the Regal Entertainment Group app was also updated with the new features this month.