How AMC's New Subscription Program Aims to Beat Rivals Like MoviePass

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The groundbreaking offering will allow moviegoers to see up to three movies per week in any format — including Imax.

As MoviePass struggles to stay afloat, mega-theater circuit AMC has upped the ante by offering its own ticket subscription service in the U.S. that will allow patrons to see up to three movies a week in any format — including Imax — for $19.95 a month.

AMC's groundbreaking program, called "AMC Stubs A-List," launches Tuesday. If it works, other theater chains are likely to follow suit in earnest as the film industry struggles to stem declining attendance. AMC is the largest theater circuit in both the U.S. and the world. Cinemark, the third-largest chain in the U.S., also offers a subscription program, but it is far less ambitious.

In response to AMC's move, MoviePass quickly tweeted that AMC was copying its model.

In fact, though, rather than copying MoviePass, AMC is borrowing its approach from subscription services that have been offered by major chains in Europe for more than two years, particularly in the U.K., where AMC operates Odeon.

"In Europe, people who use these services go to the movies twice as much," says Wall Street analyst Eric Handler of MKM Partners. "And while you might be paying more for AMC's service than for MoviePass, you are getting a lot more flexibility,"

Adds RBC Capital Markets analyst Leo Kulp: "We see AMC's subscription plan as an innovative way to try to increase attendance. While we don't necessarily see this competing with MoviePass — we see AMC's plan as a premium offering — it could benefit from any disruptions at MoviePass."

Below are the highlights of the movie subscription services in the U.S. Keep in mind that while the average movie ticket price was $8.97 in 2017, the cost of going to the movies is notably higher in major hubs like New York City and Los Angeles.

AMC A-List

The program officially launches Tuesday.

Members can see up to three titles a week, and can even see all three in one day. And members can also watch the same film multiple times.

If a member doesn't see all three possible movies in one week, unused "tickets" can't be carried over from week to week.

Members can see a film in any format, including Imax. Generally speaking, the upcharge for an Imax ticket is $4 to $5. And in cities like L.A. or N.Y., an Imax ticket can cost upwards of $21.

"I think the allure of this particular program is that you can see premium cinema," Imax chairman-CEO Rich Gelfond tells The Hollywood Reporter.

A-List members can also buy a ticket online and reserve a seat at no added charge.

Free concession upgrades.

There's a three-month minimum to join.

Those who sign up for a year can lock in the price of $19.95.

MoviePass

MoviePass costs less than A-List. For $9.95 a month, MoviePass patrons can see one movie a day. However, there are major caveats.

MoviePass chief Mitch Lowe said Thursday that MoviePass will soon implement a $2 surcharge for a high-demand title, most likely on opening weekend. The program also intends to begin offering access to premium formats by the end of summer. However, unlike AMC, MoviePass customers will have to pay an added fee of $2 to $6.

MoviePass also intends to introduce an "add a friend" option.

MoviePass members can't see the same film twice.

MoviePass is only good for same-day tickets.

Cinemark Movie Club

For $8.99 a month, members get one free regular movie ticket per month.

Unused tickets will roll over.

Members get 20 percent off of concessions.

Online fees are waived.

A member can buy a second ticket for $8.99.

Sinemia

The company offers various yearly packages, ranging from one movie ticket per month for $4.99 to three movie tickets per month for $14.99.

Members can see a film in any format.

Tickets can be reserved in advance.

On Friday, it added several more "family plans," the cheapest at $8.99 monthly for one "movie-day" per month for two people (two total tickets monthly) and the most expensive being $89.99 a month for 18 tickets monthly.

Sinemia is a global company with 2.6 million monthly unique users, though the company will not say how many of them are in the U.S.