By: Nick Gambino
I’m what we call in the industry a “movie buff.” So if you’re ever looking for me on the weekend, it’s a safe bet you’ll find me tucked away in darkness in some theater watching the latest flick.
Despite that, I was never sure enough of MoviePass to sign up. Sure it may have saved me a few bucks but in reading about the procedure and experience, it seemed too stressful. I like buying my tickets in advance through Fandango, preferably for a theater that has reserved seating. I also tend to see a movie in the morning so the ticket is already half-price. Despite over 3 million subscribers, it seems I’m not the only one with reservations.
If you’ve been keeping up on all things MoviePass related you’re aware that the subscription movie-going service has been having a tough go at it. At just $10 a pop with no subsidy from theaters, MoviePass seems to be on its last legs.
They’ve recently made changes that counter their initial promise. Up until recently, you could see a movie a day with your subscription. Now, in an effort to stay afloat, they’ve reduced that to three a month. That’s a significant drop. They’ve also dropped availability on some new releases and only support 2D viewings. Though they will apparently start supporting 3D and IMAX for an additional fee starting in the next few weeks.
AMC Stubs A-List, on the other hand, has piqued my interest. I’m already a Stubs member and see most of my movies in an AMC theater. Their monthly plan costs $20 but allows you to see three movies a week. That’s a lot more than three a month and a lot more than you’ll probably ever use. It also includes IMAX, 3D and other higher-priced tickets. On top of that, you get Stubs Premiere benefits without having to pay for a separate account.
The system itself is just a lot simpler. It’s been folded into the already digitized online AMC experience. Instead of MoviePass which works external to the theater and requires a debit card, A-List removes the headache. You can also hold reservations ahead of time on tickets as soon as they’re available.
So AMC Stubs A-List and other in-theater competitors like Cinemark’s Movie Club look like they’re here to stay, but it doesn’t seem there’s much hope for MoviePass. They just didn’t have an ideal convenient model leaving them open to becoming irrelevant once somebody else did.
It seems MoviePass is destined to be the MySpace of the movie-going subscription model. It’ll most likely fade from the public consciousness but will still be credited with creating the tectonic shift that changed the movie theater business.