One day after AMC announced their own movie ticket subscription plan with premium screenings included, MoviePass unveiled a new set of features that they will add in the coming months to their $9.95/month subscription plan … but with an extra surcharge for “certain high-demand showings.”
First revealed by CEO Mitch Lowe in an interview with Business Insider and later detailed by the company in a statement, MoviePass’ upcoming changes include optional features that subscribers can add to their baseline plan — such as the ability to buy tickets to 3D and IMAX screenings, and to buy a ticket for a friend.
However, MoviePass also says that there are plans to add a $2 extra charge to certain screenings for in-demand new releases starting next month. According to Lowe, this will mostly be for major blockbusters on opening weekend, and in a statement sent to TheWrap, MoviePass says that the aim of the surcharge is to “help drive attendance to theaters during their slow times.”
AMC, meanwhile, announced an “A-List” subscription plan to accompany their already existing AMC Stubs program. The plan, which is available for $19.95/month, offers three movie tickets per week that can be used for any AMC screening, including premium formats at no extra charge. The plan also includes advance ticketing at all locations, something that MoviePass only offers at partner theater chains.
“We are absolutely thrilled that AMC has finally stepped up to embrace a model that we’ve known all along will be the future of our industry,” MoviePass said in a statement after AMC’s plan was announced. “The MoviePass Effect has made its mark and the model is here to stay. It’s important to recognize that they will only be able to service 23 percent of the nation’s theaters and MoviePass subscribers get a better deal in more than 91 percent of them, including AMC.”
“Beyond that, our key differentiator is that we pave a path of success for independent and small theater chains, where we will continue to focus our efforts. Ultimately, we are trying to innovate the industry and good competition will help make that happen.”
MoviePass’ response on Twitter, however, was more combative.
“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,” read a tweet on the company’s account. “We want to make movies more accessible, they want more profit.”
MoviePass says they will be rolling out the premium screening option and surge charges in the coming weeks, though the exact timetable is not yet clear. So don’t be surprised if you find yourself being asked to pay a little extra on MoviePass to see “Ant-Man and the Wasp” on opening night.