Amazon offers tickets to early 'Jumanji' screenings for Prime members

(Reuters) - Inc on Wednesday said members of its shopping club Prime could purchase tickets to an early screening of Sony Pictures’ “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” in more than 1,000 U.S. cinemas, in its latest move to court subscribers.

This is the first time the world’s largest online retailer has offered to sell tickets to Prime members for an advanced movie showing. The film will screen at 7 p.m. local time on Dec. 8 across the United States, nearly two weeks before its release to the wider public.

The news underscores how Amazon is looking to add benefits to Prime, the cornerstone of its business, which offers two-day shipping, music and movie streaming online for $99 per year in the United States. Prime members tend to buy more from the online retailer.

For the unit of Sony Corp distributing the film, the deal with Amazon offers a chance for buzz and a better box office. Its last big hit was “Spider-Man: Homecoming” this summer.

The sequel to the 1995 adventure film starring Robin Williams this time shows four teenagers transported into a Jumanji video game as adult avatars and find themselves pursued by jungle creatures and motorcycle assailants, jumping into waterfalls and encountering perilous caves.

Amazon declined to comment on the financial details of the deal. The company separately has sought to partner with venue owners to enter the events ticketing business in the United States.

Amazon said it would roll out a Prime “blue carpet” at some movie theaters and there would be Jumanji-themed photo booths and giveaways.

“We can’t wait to welcome Prime members to the jungle before anyone else,” said Dwayne Johnson, one of the film’s lead actors, in a news release.

Amazon Studios, the company’s video production and distribution arm, is not affiliated with the film.

Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco and Piya Sinha Roy in Los Angeles; Editing by Lisa Shumaker