Beginning in January, AMC will offer a movie a day. The popular movie theater will be doing so in conjunction with MoviePass, which currently offers a subscription-based movie-going service. The new movie program will test the waters in Boston and Denver, and use those statistics to determine how quickly the program will be incorporated in other cities.
Reportedly, moviegoers can pay $35 or $45 for the opportunity to see one movie each day without having to buy a ticket. The higher price tag includes 3D and IMAX titles. The cost of the monthly membership does not include theater concession snacks.
MoviePass started up in 2011 in San Francisco but has not gained the momentum it anticipated. They feared that by having a subscription service, they would be taking away from traditional ticket sales and driving away bigger chains. MoviePass then partnered with Hollywood Movie Money, a ticket voucher service which had many inconveniences, including having to print ticket vouchers at home and then presenting them at the ticket counter.
AMC decided to take the risk and foster a partnership to expand the subscription-based service. The partnership is an effort to increase audience attendance as well as revenues for the popular movie theater. AMC is the second largest movie theater chain in the country; Regal Cinemas is the first. Currently, AMC operates over 4900 theaters across the U.S.
According to the Nielsen ratings, the audience between the ages of 12 and 24 dropped nearly 15 percent early in the year. However, the overall decline in moviegoing dropped by five percent for the year. Since 2007, theater attendance has been in decline for audiences aged 12 to 24. The goal of the movie-a-day subscription is to bring back that audience.
As a precursor to the new movie pass program, AMC offered customers the option to see Interstellar as many times as they wanted for $19.99 or $34.99 (for the 3D or IMAX formatted movie). AMC has also seen an increase of 5.3 percent in average ticket prices in the third quarter of this year.
Another concern for the movie theater is the drop in young viewers, who often spend large amounts of money on theater concessions like popcorn, candy, soda and other snacks. The MoviePass chief executive and co-founder, Stacy Spikes, commented that younger people are taking advantage of newer technology and consuming entertainment differently than in previous years. Spikes’ goal is to take advantage of changing technology and “cash-in” on a Netflix-infused society.
AMC will offer one movie each day to those who are interested in the new service. The senior vice president of corporate strategy at AMC, Christina Sternberg, commented that the program is designed to give back to customers the convenience in seeing movies and is a direct response to other subscription services for music, magazines and television. She also stated that she believes it will bring audiences back to the theaters.
Partnered with MoviePass to created a program called MoviePass Premium, AMC has decided to offer a monthly subscription for a movie a day beginning in January. Initially, Boston and Denver have been chosen to pilot this new program. If it is successful, audiences can look forward to having the option in many other cities.
By Kerri Cushna
Photo by Wally Gobetz – Flickr License