What if you pay a relatively small fee once a month or once a year and get access to any movie you want to see in theaters. That sounds too good to be true, but it is a reality. Sometimes the price you pay a month is cheaper than the cost of a single movie ticket. Which means you can technically see watch one movie every day for one month pay less than $20. However, there are limitations to this service, such as limited to 2d only viewings & 1 ticket per day. Since Stacy Spikes & Hamet Watt started the first movie ticket subscription service called MoviePass back in 2011, movie ticket subscription is the must thing to have for every moviegoer. Because of these services theaters have seen a spike in an overall number of ticket sales.
Here we will look into three popular movie subscription services that are still alive.
The mother of them all. They introduced the concept of paying monthly a fixed fee and watch any movie you want at any time. They give each subscriber a MoviePass branded credit card which they can purchase tickets that at a specific cinema to a particular movie. They can request the film and cinema of the purchase through a mobile app. At first, the service was only limited to 3 tickets a month. It did have an unlimited plan for $100 a month. When Helios and Matheson Analytics acquired it discontinued the other plans and lowered the $100 plan to $10 a month. That is when the service really took off. In less than six months, the service gained over three million subscribers.
What the company did not anticipate is that the sheer number of movies each subscriber would watch. MoviePass could make deals with movie theaters for concession sales commission and a reduction in ticket pricing. Therefore the company was paying the full price per ticket. Due to this, the company reported a loss of $100 million for the second quarter of 2018. They started having service blackouts because of their inability to pay their payment processor. Their customer service deteriorated. They started changing the plans every month. Their subscription count dwindled to barely 300,000. However, they managed to stay in business so far. In early 2019, they reintroduced the unlimited plan and at a higher price. They also introduce new safeguards to prevent abuse.
2) AMC stubs A-List
When MoviePass came out, AMC was extremely resistive to cooperate with them. Surprisingly AMC decided to follow the path of MoviePass by introducing their own movie ticket subscription service. They introduced it through their AMC Stubs loyalty program which already had millions of users. AMC’s biggest advantage is they have the money and own the theaters to run it at a lower cost. But looking at the most recent Annual report, the service had cost them a lot of money.
Their service is more generous but more expensive than MoviePass. It lets customers see up to 3 movies a week vs. one movie a day in MoviePass. It costs between $19.95 – $23.95 based on the geographical location of the customer. Customers can watch movies in any format including IMAX, Dolby Cinema, and Real 3D.
3) Cinemark Movie Club
Cinemark following AMC’s footsteps introduced their own movie ticket subscription service for their theater moviegoers. For $8.99 a month you get ONE movie ticket, 20% off on concessions and no fees if you order the ticket online. The ticket rollovers to next month if you do no use. The deal does not look good on paper but it is highly sustainable and still offer value to its customers.
4) Alamo Season Pass (Coming soon)
Alamo Drafthouse is another movie cinema chain jumping into the bandwagon of movie ticket subscription. Their service has not been launched to the general public yet but will be called Alamo Season Pass. The service lets customers see an unlimited number of movies starting at $20 a month at Alamo Drafthouse theaters.
5) Sinemia (Filled Bankruptcy on April 27, 2019 )
The main competitor for MoviePass before AMC. They mainly offered a subscription to a discounted movie ticket service. Initially, it came out with a more sustainable business model. The app works like a virtual credit card that lets users purchase any movie ticket at any location in any format. This includes movies in IMAX & Real 3D. The service operated in the UK, Canada, Turkey, and Australia.
For $7.99 a month you can watch three 2D movies a month. If you do not watch all three movies, whatever remaining is rolled over to the next month. For the $8.99 a month billed annually, you can watch two 3D movies a month with a rollover feature. For $14.99 a month you can watch 30 2D movies a month. However, the unlimited plan came out with a $30 initiation fee. It also charged $1.80 as a processing fee per each movie on top of the subscription. It received a class action lawsuit because of it. It also received a lawsuit for violating MoviePass intellectual property.