AMC Unveils Answer to MoviePass: $20 Subscription Plan

AMC Theatres, the world’s largest exhibitor, has unveiled its answer to MoviePass after disparaging the popular subscription service as a house of cards for nearly a year.

On Tuesday, the theater chain will begin offering guests the chance to see up to three movies per week for the monthly fee of $19.95. The offering is being run through its loyalty program AMC Stubs, and has been dubbed AMC Stubs A-List. In a clear dig towards MoviePass, a thorn in the exhibition business’ side because of its discounted ticketing, AMC calls its pricing “sustainable.”

MoviePass is the cheaper option, giving customers the chance to see a movie a day for a monthly fee of $9.99. It can also be used at nearly any theater that accepts MasterCard. However, AMC’s program offers some features that MoviePass has not matched. Namely, customers can see movies in premium formats such as IMAX, Dolby Cinema, and RealD. MoviePass can only be used for 2D films. The battle to discount comes after years of rising ticket prices. Those heftier fees have been able to off-set declines in domestic attendance. Since 2002, ticket prices have increased by 54%, while ticket sales have fallen 22%.

It also unfolds as MoviePass faces questions about its long-term viability. MoviePass has been able to attract 3 million customers since slashing its prices last summer. Yet there are concerns about its liquidity. In October, Helios and Matheson’s stock was trading at $38.86 a share. The value has declined rapidly since a Securities and Exchange Commission filing revealed the company had $15.5 million in available cash at the end of April, plus $27.9 million on deposit with merchants. Its monthly expenses totaled $21.7 million. An independent auditor raised “substantial doubt” in financial documents made public by MoviePass about the company’s ability to continue operating as “a going concern.” On Tuesday, the company’s stock fluctuated wildly as MoviePass pitched investors on a plan to avoid being delisted on Nasdaq because its shares were trading at too low a price. MoviePass’s parent company, Helios and Matheson, closed the day at 44 cents a share.

MoviePass’s business model is controversial. It pays full price for the tickets that its customers purchase on MoviePass-enabled MasterCards, and then discounts them heavily. It believes that the data it collects on consumer behavior will be so powerful that it will find alternative ways to make money.

AMC plan is distinct from MoviePass in other respects. The exhibitor said that subscribers will not be able to carryover movies from week to week if they see fewer than three. Unlike MoviePass, however, they can even see all three movies on the same day, and they can watch movies they have previously seen. Guests can also reserve tickets in advance. MoviePass customers have to be within a certain distance of a theater before booking tickets, and they cannot buy tickets multiple times for the same movie.

There is no love lost between the companies. Last summer, AMC CEO Adam Aron dismissed MoviePass as a “small fringe player” and said it “only sets up consumers for ultimate disappointment down the road if or when the product can no longer be fulfilled.” In an interview with Variety last April, MoviePass chief Mitch Lowe said he had been in touch with Aron a few times, but characterized their email exchanges as “not the friendliest.”

“‘It’s like, ‘Hey Adam, why are you saying you’re going to sue us?’” Lowe said of their notes. “And he’ll say, ‘Hey Mitch, why are you saying horrible stuff about us?’”

More Film

  • The Intruder

    'The Intruder': Film Review

    Take two parts De Palma, one part Zulawski, four parts “Berberian Sound Studio” and dissolve the whole in about a million parts water, and the resultant dilute solution might approximate “The Intruder,” an oddly flavorless supernatural psycho-thriller from sophomore Argentinian director Natalia Meta. The claustrophobically close-up tale of a woman’s mental unraveling in the wake [...]

  • Matthew A Cherry Hair Love NAACP

    Lead Category in NAACP Image Awards Reflects Spike in Diversity and Artistic Caliber

    To best appreciate the competitiveness and quality of the outstanding motion picture nominees for the 51st NAACP Image Awards, which takes place on Feb. 22, check the numbers. All five of this year’s nominees — “Dolemite Is My Name” “Just Mercy” “Harriet” “Queen & Slim” and “Us” — scored well on Rotten Tomatoes. To wit, [...]

  • Mogul Mowgli

    'Mogul Mowgli': Film Review

    The last time festival audiences saw Riz Ahmed on screen, he was tearing it up on stage as a hedonistic hard-rocker before being plunged into emotional freefall by disability. As an American drummer slowly accepting the loss of his hearing in “Sound of Metal,” the British-Pakistani actor elucidated that painful arc with such furious, void-staring [...]

  • Mimamata

    'Minamata': Film Review

    If it weren’t for the work he’d done in the Japanese fishing village of Minamata, W. Eugene Smith’s legacy would likely be that of a war photographer, or else as one of the leading contributors to Life magazine, whose immersive approach to his subjects helped pioneer the concept of the photo essay. But Smith did [...]

  • Nine Days

    Winston Duke, Zazie Beetz Drama 'Nine Days' Bought by Sony Classics

    Sony Pictures Classics has picked up distribution rights in North America and multiple international markets to the science-fiction drama “Nine Days,” starring Winston Duke. The film, directed by Edson Oda from his own script, also stars Zazie Beetz, Bill Skarsgård, Benedict Wong, Tony Hale, David Rysdahl, and Arianna Ortiz. Oda received the Waldo Salt Screenwriting [...]

  • Yola

    Yola to Play Sister Rosetta Tharpe in Baz Luhrmann's 'Elvis' (EXCLUSIVE)

    British musician Yola will play singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe — dubbed the Godmother of rock and roll — in Baz Luhrmann’s musical drama “Elvis,” sources tell Variety. The Warner Bros. film stars Austin Butler in the title role, Tom Hanks as Elvis Presley’s manager Colonel Tom Parker, Maggie Gyllenhaal as Presley’s mother and Rufus Sewell [...]

  • The Batman Robert Pattinson

    'The Batman' Leaked Images and Video Reveal Batcycle, Full Batsuit

    A series of leaked images and a 12-second video taken from the set of “The Batman” reveal the first look at the Batcycle and the full Batsuit. The unauthorized images were taken during an outdoor location shoot for the film at the Glasgow Necropolis cemetery in Scotland, according to the caption accompanying the images on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content