MoviePass, the cinema subscription service that allows you to watch one movie per day for a monthly fee of $9.99, has always sounded too good to be true. Even as their subscription numbers have hit 2 million, their business model is still confusing, especially with their ever-changing deals and promotions. It was only a matter of time before a bigger player saw the interest and decided to play their hand. Now Variety reports AMC has done just that and announced its own subscription plan, titled AMC Stubs A-List. For $19.95 a month, the company is offering up to three movies per week.
The differences between the two plans are significant. MoviePass is cheaper and can be used at most cinemas, but you can't see the same movie twice and you must be within a certain distance of the theater before checking in.
AMC’s new plan is more expensive, and will only be available at their theaters, but supports screenings in 3D, IMAX, Dolby Cinema, and RealD. The three tickets per week will not carryover from week to week, but customers can use all three on the same day and can see the same movie multiple times. Finally, AMC Stubs A-List will allow you to reserve movies ahead of time.
AMC’s move comes as customers are frustrated with increasing ticket prices—54 percent since 2002, to be exact—as attendance has decreased by 22 percent. In addition, MoviePass’s future is questionable: 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, while its monthly expenses totaled $21.7 million, Variety reports. MoviePass relies on the data it will collect on consumer behavior to be valuable enough to eventually help it become profitable.
In addition, AMC and MoviePass have a somewhat difficult relationship. AMC CEO Adam Aron has called MoviePass a “small fringe player” which "only sets up consumers for ultimate disappointment down the road if or when the product can no longer be fulfilled.” A Variety report from last April detected considerable tension coming from MoviePass boss Mitch Lowe, too. He said he’d spoken to Aron via email, but the conversation had not been “the friendliest.”
“‘It’s like, ‘Hey Adam, why are you saying you’re going to sue us?’” Lowe said of the emails. “And he’ll say, ‘Hey Mitch, why are you saying horrible stuff about us?’”
MoviePass' Twitter response to AMC's new subscription service was very in line with that, including the snarky "Twice the price for 1/4 the theater network and 60% fewer movies. Thanks for making us look good AMC!