Just in time for the season of summer blockbusters, AMC is launching a monthly movie subscription package which will allow members to see more movies for less money. If that sounds familiar, it should: it’s specifically rivaling MoviePass, one of the largest monthly movie subscription services. (Just in case your movie-going experience didn’t have enough drama on-screen, you’ve got some behind-the-scenes drama to enjoy as well.)
AMC’s service dubbed Stub’s A-List is set to launch Tuesday, June 26. For $19.95 plus tax per month, members will be able to watch up to three movies a week at any AMC location. The package includes IMAX and 3-D movies, which are notably pricier, as well as all the perks of an AMC Premiere membership perks, like no online ordering fees and free upgrades on popcorn and drinks. While the three movies per week perk doesn’t roll over, A-List members can use the service to see the same movie more than once. So, you could, hypothetically, see Ocean’s 8 a maximum of three days a week for the rest of the summer.
“We believe that our current and future loyal guests will be interested in this type of program, as AMC Stubs A-List rewards guests with something that no one else offers: the very best of AMC, including IMAX, Dolby Cinema and RealD 3D up to 3 times per week, for one simple, sustainable price,” Adam Aron, CEO and President of AMC Theatres, told Deadline.
There are some key differences between AMC’s forthcoming membership program and the current MoviePass offerings. The price is one big difference. AMC’s $20 package is twice the price of the MoviePass Unlimited plan: for $9.95/month card carrying members of MoviePass Unlimited can see a movie every single day. However, you can only see a movie once. (So, rather than seeing Ocean’s 8 three days a week, you can dedicate each day of the week to a different movie.)
MoviePass is also currently offering a limited membership for $7.95. For two dollars less, you can see three movies a month with this package. It also comes with a free three-month trial of iHeartRadio All-Access, provided you don’t already have a membership with the program. The cheaper package, while less of a deal than the $9.95 package, is probably a decent option for people who only see a movie or two each month. Even if you just see one matinee (which can run about $9.99), you’d be saving money.
What does MoviePass think of AMC’s new program? To put it gently, they’re not having it. “Heard AMC Theaters jumped on board the movie subscription train,” AMC tweeted Wednesday morning. “Twice the price for 1/4 the theater network and 60% fewer movies. Thanks for making us look good AMC!”
In August 2017, AMC released a strongly-worded statement openly opposing MoviePass’s subscription program, stating that the subscription service is “not welcome” at AMC theaters. Here’s an excerpt from the statement:
“While AMC is not opposed to subscription programs generally, the one envisioned by MoviePass is not one AMC can embrace. We are actively working now to determine whether it may be feasible to opt out and not participate in this shaky and unsustainable program.”
The “shakiness” was specifically calling out the workaround MoviePass found in order to provide so many movies at such a low price: MoviePass doesn’t partner with theaters. Instead, they partner with a third-party credit card company which purchases the movie ticket full-price on behalf of the customer, who is still only paying for their $9.95 or $7.95 monthly subscription fee.
Despite the statement released last year, AMC theaters do still accept MoviePass. There’s no telling whether AMC’s A-List program will rival MoviePass, which is projected to hit over five million subscribers by the end of this year.