Theater Chains Go MoviePass: How the Big Three in the U.S. Stack Up

Regal AMC Cinemark Split - Getty - H 2019
Getty Images (2); Courtesy of Business Wire

Regal Cinemas launched its new monthly subscription ticket plan late last month, while AMC and Cinemark's customer ranks have grown to 900,000 and 800,000, respectively.

MoviePass may be on its last legs, but its legacy lives on. The last of the largest U.S. theater circuits, Regal Cinemas, finally unveiled its subscription plan July 29, and it's more aggressive than those of AMC Theatres and Cinemark, allowing "members" to see as many titles as they desire.

But the verdict is out on whether these plans will pay off. On Aug. 2, Cinemark said its program has crossed the 800,000-member milestone since launching in late 2017, and that those customers account for 14 percent of the circuit's box office.

That was followed on Wednesday by news that AMC's Stubs A-List customer base has shot past 900,000 since the service's June 2018 bow.

In its heyday, MoviePass claimed it had more that 3 million customers. At one point, the service allowed a patron to see a movie a day for just $10.

Analyst Eric Handler of MKM Partners prefers Cinemark's: Members get one ticket a month, plus deep discounts. "Cinemark will make money every single time," he says. "For AMC and Regal, you want people to go to the movies, but you don't want them to go too much. If they go more than three times a month, you are losing money."

Here's a breakdown of the services:

AMC Stubs A-List

? Pitch: Subscribers get three movies per week in any of 661 locations and in any format, including Dolby Cinema and Imax.

? Price: $20 to $24 a month, depending upon the moviegoer's location. (L.A. and New York are $24, of course.)

? Perks: A 10 percent discount on concessions and nonalcoholic drinks.

? Restrictions: Subscribers must sign up for a three-month commitment.

Cinemark Movie Club

? Pitch: Subscribers get one 2D, standard-format movie a month; unused tickets roll over to the next month.

? Price: $9-$10 per month both, both for Movie Club members and a companion. (Slightly higher than the current average movie ticket price of $9.16, but far lower than in some big cities where tickets can cost $17 apiece or more.)

? Perks: $9-$10 for extra tickets throughout the month — including for a companion — plus a 20 percent discount on concessions.

? Restrictions: Subscribers may pay an upcharge for a premium format.

Regal Unlimited

? Pitch: Regal's plan gives theatergoers an unlimited number of movies per month in standard format at many or all 549 locations across the country, depending on the tier.

? Price: There's Regal Unlimited ($18 per month for access to 200 theaters in smaller markets), Unlimited Plus ($21 for access to 400 theaters) and All Access ($23.50, access to all theaters).

? Perks: A 10 percent discount on concessions and nonalcoholic drinks (and free birthday popcorn).

? Restrictions: A one-year commitment, 50 cent fee per ticket and upcharge for premium format.

Aug. 7, 7:20 p.m. A previous version of this story incorrectly characterized AMC's program. THR regrets the error.

A version of this story first appeared in the July 31 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.