AMC Theatres introduced a new subscription plan Wednesday, allowing members to see up to three films a week for $19.95 a month beginning June 24. The new product, called AMC Stubs A-List, is being branded as a premium tier on the chain’s existing Stubs loyalty program, but it’s clearly a direct competitor to subscription service MoviePass.
MoviePass went from about 20,000 to more than three million subscribers since introducing a $9.95 a month subscription plan in August. That allowed customers to see up to one film a day but caused MoviePass to lose more than $20 million a month. AMC CEO Adam Aron has been one of MoviePass’ biggest detractors, blasting its business strategy as “unsustainable” in multiple public statements, while consistently defending the idea of a subscription product if priced and packaged differently. AMC’s subscription product is twice as expensive as MoviePass, but includes IMAX and 3D films and lets members see the same film multiple times, all of which are blocked by MoviePass.
As the world’s largest cinema chain, AMC’s subscription service could boost film attendance, which hit a 25-year low in 2017, as the cost of each incremental movie goes down. That would be a boon to smaller independent movies, which often lose out to blockbusters when people decide to buy tickets. For a company that could run out of money at any time, MoviePass looks like it will have a lasting impact on cinema economics.