That took.... longer than expected: To compete with MoviePass, AMC Theaters will launch a monthly subscription service starting June 26th. With the AMC Stubs A-List program, in exchange for $19.95 per month folks will be able to see three movies of their choosing per week -- even if that means seeing the same movie three times in the same day. According to a press release, this also includes IMAX, Dolby Cinema and 3D features. You can buy tickets day-of or weeks in advance, too, using either the AMC website or mobile app.
A-List includes the perks of AMC's current Stubs Insider loyalty program (no service fees for online purchases, discounts and free upgrades at the concession stand, line skipping) and waives the $15 annual fee from that program. Oh, and you don't have to wait for a membership card to show up in the mail to start using the service. Each "week" runs Friday to Thursday, and there's no rollover from one to the next. Meaning, if you only saw one movie the previous week, you don't get to watch five the next as part of your subscription.
To an extent, AMC has tried this out in Europe already. Across the pond, the company owns the Odeon theater chain, which offers its own "Limitless" movie pass. As such, the company likely has an idea of the economics of the situation.
This is a clear attack on MoviePass. AMC has been incredibly vocal about its disdain for the competing service, and this is the next logical step for the theater chain. The price is twice that of MoviePass' monthly fee, but AMC's offering sounds quite a bit more convenient. For starters, there's no need to "check in" to a showing and then go through the hassle of taking photos of your ticket stubs. Instead, you just buy your tickets like normal.
Slashfilm writes that if you choose to see all three movies in one day that there needs to be a two-hour gap between showtimes (likely to prevent fraud), and that each ticket will have your name printed on it. That convenience might make the higher price less of an issue for some. You'll need to present photo ID at the time of pickup.
Since launching last August, MoviePass has had its share of foibles, changing policies on the fly and angering customers. Rivals have popped up since last year as well, both domestically and abroad. The general consensus seems to be that no one knows how its business model works and how long it'll stay afloat. If more theater chains start offering their own services akin to AMC's it could prove difficult for MoviePass to compete -- especially in smaller cities where there's a lack of competition among theaters.
This post has been updated to include information about AMC's European operations.