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MoviePass is about to get flattered again, this time by Alamo Drafthouse, which will beta test a subscription service for watching “unlimited movies” at its theaters.
The service, dubbed Alamo Season Pass, comes on the heels of AMC’s Stubs A-List, which lets subscribers see three movies weekly for $20 a month.
Alamo Drafthouse said Monday it will roll out the test in Yonkers, New York, on July 18 and other cities will follow, and it is signing up beta users at its website now, plucking interested users from its list of those who are members of Alamo Victory, its rewards program.
The chain only has 35 locations, but the fact that it is dabbling in a subscription service at all is a blow to MoviePass as it is an indication that exhibitors are willing compete with the controversial leader in the industry.
MoviePass has 3 million users who pay just $10 for the right to get one movie ticket per day at almost any theater in the nation. MoviePass is losing money ($45 million this month) and was intending to make some of that up by sharing concession revenue with exhibitors, though that seems less likely if the chains keep launching their own subscription plans.
MoviePass also has competition from Sinemia, though not much, considering its plethora of plans are far more expensive for far fewer tickets.
But what AMC, Alamo DraftHouse and Sinemia offer are reserved tickets, which are increasingly important for big releases. MoviePass will jump on that bandwagon, but for an additional cost.
In fact, MoviePass might be getting more expensive in a variety of ways. Over the weekend, for example, it alerted users that “peak pricing” is coming, so seeing a tentpole film on opening weekend could require a surcharge.
Alamo Drafthouse is light on details about its Alamo Season Pass, but it says the beta users will be testing a variety of plans at different prices, suggesting that the promise made at its website of “unlimited movies” might not apply to everyone, though a spokesperson did not clarify.
“Our guests have been asking for quite some time for us to offer an affordable monthly subscription plan that allows for unlimited movies and the ability to reserve tickets in advance at Alamo Drafthouse,” a spokesperson said. “We plan to test a variety of models and pricing structures to see what works as a sustainable model.”
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