AMC Theaters have been adding more and more amenities to make the movie theater experience closer resemble the home theater one. Reserved seats, comfy reclining chairs, and now an offer to see unlimited movies for a monthly fee.
Starting in January, AMC theatergoers in Boston and Denver may opt to purchase a year-long membership through New York-based company MoviePass to see one 2D movie a day for $35 a month, $45 if you want access to 3D and IMAX films as well.
From an AMC press release:
MoviePass Premium will be offered in AMC theatres in the Boston and Denver markets as a limited trial and provided to AMC guests on a first-come, first-served basis.
AMC guests in these markets can choose from a two-tiered system based on their preferred movie-going experience:
• MoviePass Premium: Movie goers can sign up for the MoviePass Premium subscription at www.moviepass.com/AMC or by downloading the MoviePass app from iTunes or Google Play. Guests can see one movie per day at any AMC location in the markets in any presentation format. MoviePass Premium costs up to $45 per month.
• AMC guests can also choose the standard MoviePass subscription option – one movie per day in the 2D presentation format for $35 per month.
“This is the first time a premium level subscription service has been launched in the U.S. and marks a significant step forward by offering passionate movie lovers the premium sight and sound experiences available in movie theatres,” said Stacy Spikes, CEO and Co-Founder of MoviePass. “We believe this premium tier subscription, combined with a new online ticketing feature, will appeal to our largest demographic, 18-34-year-old movie goers. Our goal is to keep people coming out to the movies again and again.”
The AMC-MoviePass program allows guests to select movie and showtime in the MoviePass App at the theater. Guests can then simply swipe their membership cards at the participating AMC location to get their tickets. At AMC locations that offer ticketless entry, guests can have their ticket scanned directly from their phone.
But is MoviePass really worth it? Seeing three or four movies a month would make the service pay for itself, but that’s one movie per weekend. There might be some months that make MoviePass seem like a steal — December for the film fans who want to catch the likely Oscar contenders, July for the big budget action buffs whose idea of getting their money’s worth involves explosions per minute — but February is a notorious dead month for film, with studios dumping the likes of the “Robocop” reboot and “3 Days to Kill” on moviegoers.
And MoviePass isn’t like Netflix: you can’t deactivate and reactivate during months where you don’t think you’ll be watching many movies. MoviePass is a year-long subscription, and canceling the service after a couple months means early termination fees.
Additionally, AMC has plenty of theaters around Boston, but not in every town. MoviePass has a map supposedly showing other theaters where MoviePass is accepted, but also made clear that the listings may not be accurate in their terms and conditions:
In fact, when I reached out to an employee at a non-AMC theater listed on MoviePass’s website as a participating theater in my area, I was told that their theater was in no way affiliated with MoviePass, and had been trying to remove their theater from the site for years.
Finally, there’s the fine print about how often you can use the service. Once a day sounds simple enough, but what it actually means is once every 24 hours. So if you want to catch a Friday night showing of the new “Hunger Games” movie with your significant other and catch a matinee of “The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies” with your buddies Saturday afternoon, you may be out of luck.
In the end, the deal may still be worth it to a lot of people, but it’s worth weighing the options and reading the fine print before signing up for something you may later regret.