This is a step forward in the campaign to install satellite dishes and equipment at theaters — a key part of the movie industry’s effort to cut distribution costs, and promote alternative content. Carmike Cinemas and Marcus Theatres, the No. 4 and 5 chains, just joined the Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition, as did a smaller player, Wehrenberg Theatres. DCDC handles satellite delivery and technology, and now has all of the five largest U.S. exhibition chains including Regal, AMC, and Cinemark. That translates to a total of more than 21,000 screens at more than 1,800 sites.

The coalition handles content from Warner Bros., Universal, Disney, Sony, Fox, Paramount, Lionsgate, Focus Features, Open Road, and Freestyle Releasing.

The additions cap “a phenomenal year of growth for us,” DCDC chief Randy Blotky says. Earlier this year the group bought a rival service, Deluxe/EchoStar,  and hammered out a template agreement with the National Association of Theatre Owners designed to help small theaters install satellite dishes and equipment.