Avengers: Endgame was a litmus test for India’s leading online movie-ticketing platform BookMyShow.
Considering the massive fan-following for the 22nd film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with sold-out advance bookings and 24×7 screenings, ticketing tech was under duress in many parts of the world.
In the US, for instance, patrons were made to wait hours on ticketing portal Fandango. The website for AMC Entertainment, America’s largest theatre chain with over 8,000 screens, even crashed temporarily.
In India, too, Twitter was abuzz with complaints of server slowdowns and website and app glitches.
The star-studded movie has not just beaten all Hollywood releases in the country, by now, it has even overtaken some of the biggest Bollywood hits. And BookMyShow contributed to nearly half of its more than Rs300 crore ($42 million) box office collections in India, the company claims.
Quartz spoke with Viraj Patel, vice-president of technology at the Mumbai-based company, to find out how BookMyShow geared up to handle Endgame:
Did you expect high demand for Endgame prior to its release?
Considering that over a million people had chosen the “Interested” option for Avengers: Endgame even before the ticket sales went live, the influx of traffic for the film was anticipated. We typically optimise our infrastructure to cater to the massive incoming traffic during such mega releases. There was thrice the number of people who reached out to BookMyShow to book tickets for Avengers: Endgame, as compared to any other film during that period.
How did you make sure you were prepared?
We started by ensuring our applications are built for scale. A combination of technologies like MongoDB, Aerospike, Galera and few others was used to store data reliably at scale. We also ensured that our infrastructure could scale rapidly. This is the first time we could stress test our systems at the highest levels of traffic.
In what has created a new benchmark for BookMyShow and cinema itself, the traffic on the platform hit an all-time high, selling 76 tickets in one second at peak.
How much time did it take you to prep for Marvel’s latest movie?
Each time a much-awaited film is slated for its release, the traffic on the platform multiplies significantly. We constantly keep scaling our systems in anticipation of the next peak. We, however, spent about two weeks for final touch-ups before the launch of Avengers: Endgame.
What resources—funds, people—did you dedicate to it?
Several teams spent the fortnight before the ticket sales went live to ensure a smooth process. BookMyShow employees across engineering, DevOps (technology development operations), tech support, marketing, and cinema operations were dedicated to making Avengers: Endgame a success on the platform.
Did you face any challenges? How did you overcome them?
The hysteria around the film was phenomenal and the demand for the tickets was rocketing, sometimes resulting in users not getting their preferred seats. As soon as the advance tickets sales for Avengers: Endgame went live we observed an influx of almost 500% across our data centres and received more than 650,000 requests per minute on certain micro-services. At peak, we catered to 250,000 concurrent users, with our auto-scaling technologies scaling 25%, enabling us to sell more than a million tickets in just over a day. Despite the high traffic, these auto-scaling technologies helped handle the heavy load to ensure that the systems ran as smoothly as possible, not breaking even once.