AMC Theatres To Test Monthly Subscription Packages To Lure Moviegoers

moviepssWe first told you about MoviePass — a subscription service that gives you access to a movie a day for a set monthly rate — more than three years ago. And while the service has managed to evolve and stick around, it hasn’t been able to convince the major theater chains to partner with it. But now MoviePass and AMC, the country’s second-largest theater operator, have announced a plan to test the service to see if people are willing to pay $35-45/month for regular trips to the cinema.

The NY Times reports that the tests will start out at AMC venues in Denver and Boston starting in January, with plans to roll it out to other markets.

Currently, MoviePass works in a somewhat awkward multistep process. You need to first get the MoviePass card, which is effectively a debit card. Then you use the service’s app to choose the film you want to see. MoviePass puts the appropriate ticket price on the card, which is then used to pay for the ticket at the box office or at a kiosk.

Since it is paying full price for tickets, MoviePass is banking on the idea that its users will regularly opt to skip the theater, letting their subscription go largely unused.

“Some overuse; a lot underuse,” the company’s CEO explains to the Times.

AMC is obviously hoping that enough people will be interested to get butts in seats — and more importantly to get those butts in line at the concession stand, where the theater stands to make most of its money.

MoviePass users are typically in that prime 18-34 age group that theaters want to attract, but who are increasingly realizing they can just wait to see a movie on their huge TV screens without having to plunk down a ton of cash at the theater. The company also claims that its users are big spenders at the concession stands.

So how often would you need to go to the theater to make a $35 subscription worth it?

The typical AMC ticket is now about $9.50, so a night at the movies for two people will cost you $19. Two movie dates in a month puts you at $38.

But MoviePass isn’t transferrable and you can’t reserve more than one ticket at a time using the app. So you would personally need to average a movie a week to see the value of one subscription.

During this time of year, when multiple Oscar-worthy title comes out on a weekly basis, that might be tempting. But think about the dog days of February through May, when theaters are full up with sequels to movies you never saw in the first place.

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