AMC Theatres on Wednesday announced a new loyalty program clearly targeted at subscription series MoviePass, offering up to 12 movies per month for a $19.95 fee.
AMC Stubs A-List, which is set to launch this Tuesday, will allow users to attend movies up to three times per week at any of the company's 650 theaters in North America. (The chain sets a week from Friday to Thursday.)
"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," AMC Theatres CEO Adam Aron said in a statement.
That "sustainable" reference is a clear dig at MoviePass, an independent movie ticket subscription service that has been losing millions of dollars with monthly rates as low as $6.95 as it has built a subscriber base that recently passed the 3 million mark.
Exhibitors like AMC have long argued that the company, a division of Helios and Matheson, has an unsustainable business model since it typically pays full price for every ticket sold to its users.
Late Tuesday, Helios and Matheson announced it was seeking a reverse split of its shares and that it might delist on Nasdaq if investors don't approve the plan. The stock, which once traded at $10 per share, sank to an all-time low of 30 cents in after-hours trading.
Unlike some of MoviePass' newer subscription offerings, AMC's new Stubs A-List places no restrictions on format -- IMAX and 3-D movies are included -- and allows users to purchase advance tickets as well as spur-of-the-moment sales. The offer includes other incentives, such as free upgrades on popcorn and soda, no online ticket fees and other loyalty bonuses.
According to AMC, the only exceptions may be Fathom Events shows, special fan events and some Indian cinema titles.
MoviePass has swiped back at the A-List plan on its Twitter page, criticizing its lack of reach and higher price.
"AMC has repeatedly disparaged our model as a way to discourage our growth because all along they wanted to launch their own, more expensive plan," the company tweeted. "We want to make movies more accessible, they want more profit."