For $19.95 a month, members will get three movies a week (defined as Friday through Thursday; approximately 12 titles a month), along with all the benefits of the theater chain’s rewards program AMC Stubs Premiere. The program kicks off on Tuesday, June 26 and members can reap the benefits immediately.
Since last fall we’ve been hearing that AMC was shopping some form of a premium subscription program around to studios, however, the distribution heads had declined the chain’s proposals. Today, the largest exhibitor in the world has finally broken through, and the news arrives just as MoviePass’ parent company Helios & Matheson is trying to financially re-structure since its stock tanked well below a dollar a share over the last month with analysts deeming the company’s business plan risky. Since MoviePass revitalized itself last August with a $9.95/a month unlimited movie ticket service, it’s been at war with AMC. The exhibitor attempted to block MoviePass with the latter shutting off some of the chain’s big city locations from its app earlier this year (only to turn them back on later for its members).
Also, we had reported at CinemaCon that exhibitors were likely to start their own monthly movie ticket subscription programs rather than have MoviePass come in between them and the studios: Neither side wants to take a haircut on their share of the film rental with an outside third party. Already over in the U.K., Regal Cinemas’ new owner Cineworld has an unlimited ticket subscription program for $25/month. Back in December, Cinemark introduced something of a sub program with a free movie ticket at $9/month, however, AMC’s A-List blows it away.
While many will be fast to point out that AMC’s program isn’t the $9.95/a month one ticket-a-day program that MoviePass provides its members, there are several other perks: A-List members don’t have to buy their tickets at the last minute which is the case with MoviePass, rather can purchase well in advance. A-Listers can snap up tickets for any format (IMAX at AMC, Dolby Cinema at AMC, RealD 3D, Prime at AMC and BigD), something MoviePass doesn’t allow. Reservations for A-List members can be made on AMCTheatres.com web site, or on the AMC Theatres smartphone app. For quite some time, MoviePass’ 3 million subscribers have weathered a slew of technical snafus, from the app glitching to being informed they’ve violated their Byzantine terms of service. No problems here with AMC’s A-List since it connects directly with the chain’s internal point-of-sales system.
With A-List, it’s use it or lose it every week: The three movies a week doesn’t rollover into next week. That said, all three movies can be enjoyed on the same day with a two-hour buffer in between each showtime. And an individual is allowed to re-watch the same movie. The A-List subscription program works for both new releases as well as holdovers, studio or indie titles.
In addition to seeing up to three movies per week, AMC Stubs A-List members will also reap such upsides as free upgrades on concessions, express box office and concession service, no online ticketing fees and 100 points for every $1 spent for the AMC Stubs A-List monthly fee and food and beverage spending at the theater chain. AMC Stubs Premiere members receive a $5 reward for every 5,000 points earned, which translates to a 10% credit toward future AMC purchases.
“We believe that our current and future loyal guests will be interested in this type of program, as AMC Stubs A-List rewards guests with something that no one else offers: the very best of AMC, including IMAX, Dolby Cinema and RealD 3D up to 3 times per week, for one simple, sustainable price,” said Adam Aron, CEO and President, AMC Theatres.
Aron added, “Since its inception in 2011, AMC Stubs has continued to evolve to meet the needs of its customers, as it did in 2016 when we introduced the free tier, AMC Stubs Insider. AMC Stubs A-List is AMC’s next evolution of delivering amazing benefits to our loyal customers, and we’re excited to continue to grow the program by leaps and bounds.”
AMC will discuss the Stubs A-List program more on its analysts conference call today at 12:30 PM EST. Word about AMC’s new A-List program was first leaked online on Reddit yesterday afternoon in a MoviePass Club section.
Of the notable chains that MoviePass has a specific subscription contract are Landmark Theatres as well as Studio Movie Grill, though the service works with most major theaters. MoviePass members select the showtime they want to see on the mobile app when they’re within a short distance from the theater, and use their MoviePass Mastercard debit card (which is funded after ticket selection) to obtain their ticket at the box office. MoviePass in an effort to be a major player in the industry has branched off into co-financing independent films, such as American Animals and Gotti, with MoviePass Ventures and acquiring Emmett Furla Oasis Films. Reportedly, MoviePass repped 40% of Gotti‘s $1.7M opening weekend, and around 35% of American Animals‘ opening weekend.
While it’s too soon to tell whether AMC’s A-List takes a toll on MoviePass, distribution sources perceive the latter to be financially unstable, and question how the service will survive the summer box office season.