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Cinemark Unveils Monthly Movie Subscription Program to Battle MoviePass

Cinemark has unveiled a monthly subscription program, dubbed Movie Club, that lets customers buy a movie ticket a month for a discount price of $8.99, in addition to 20% off on concessions.

The Texas-based chain, which owns about 350 theaters with more than 4,500 screens, unveiled the program on Tuesday. It also allows members to roll over unused tickets every month and buy additional ones for friends at the lower price.

“We are thrilled to launch our proprietary movie membership program that is completely consumer research-driven,” said Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi. “Based on the feedback we received, we designed Movie Club with all of the features and benefits that moviegoers desire most in a membership program without any of the hassle, enabling our guests to enjoy the moviegoing experience with their friends and family.”

Cinemark said that it has developed Movie Club after it conducted extensive consumer research and studied the best subscription program models, both in and outside of the entertainment industry. “Throughout the research process, consumers resoundingly preferred a monthly membership program with ticket rollover benefits that allows them to accumulate credits, reserve their seats in advance with no online fees and enjoy significant discounts on concessions,” the company said.

Cinemark’s move appears to be a specific response to MoviePass, which began offering unlimited films in theaters for $9.95 a month earlier this year.

MoviePass announced last month that it was debuting a limited-time subscription that allows users to pay $6.95 a month to watch a movie a day for a year, with the provision that users commit to a 12-month subscription.

MoviePass pays theaters the full price for a ticket, so it is in essence subsidizing its users’ moviegoing and losing money each time they check out a film. The average movie ticket cost $8.60 through the first three quarters of 2017, but in major cities, such as Los Angeles and New York, tickets often cost more than $10.

AMC, the country’s largest chain, threatened legal action against MoviePass in August and predicted that the the company would fail because its business model was not sustainable. There is anxiety among exhibitors that customers will get accustomed to paying a discounted rate for tickets, which will depress prices.

The move comes with domestic box office revenues for 2017 trailing last year by about 4% thanks to disappointing movie performance in the summer and in October, according to comScore.

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