Move over, AMC: Regal Enters the Ticket subscription Ring
Well, well, Regal Unlimited. It’s about damn time.
When MoviePass initially gave avid moviegoers the chance to see unlimited movies at the theater for a low subscription rate, we all rejoiced. And with so many other industries moving to subscription business models, we started hoping that this may become the future of theater ticketing.
But many of us are very familiar with the unfortunate events that followed: the MoviePass subscription service crashed (figuratively and literally in the case of their app) and burned with plenty of consumer complaints to go around. MoviePass’ main competitor, Sinema, didn't fare any better and in an attempt to keep up with consumers’ expectations, that service ended up going out of business.
Though these services had many many pitfalls, the silver lining is that their efforts paved the way for more legitimate organizations to get in on movie subscriptions. Enter AMC, which in July 2018 unveiled their AMC Stubs A-List program, allowing subscribers 3 movies per week in any format at price points ranging from $19.95 to $23.95 plus tax per month.
If you’re like me, you’re weary of such a service without direct competition since direct competition is what typically leads to better deals and services for consumers. Well today, Regal Entertainment Group has finally joined the fray. Providing much of what MoviePass originally offered (unlimited films in standard 2D format) Regal has opened the door for movie subscriptions to consumers, especially those who didn't live a reasonable distance from an AMC.
Here’s what Regal is offering in their subscription plan:
Three tier pricing which categorizes the value of theaters based on their location. The three price-points each Regal theater falls in is either $18, $21, or $23.50 plus tax per month. See the theater list here.
A truly unlimited plan, allowing subscribers unlimited viewings and repeat viewings of unlimited standard format movies within their plan.
10% off concessions, plus all of the benefits from the regular Regal Crown Club membership, including their classic credits system for every dollar spent.
As with any deal that seems too good to be true, there are a few drawbacks. The biggest one to consider is the 12 month commitment subscribers are locked into once they sign up. While AMC allows their A-List subscribers to sign up or cancel on a month to month basis, Regal Unlimited customers are in it for a year before they can opt out of the agreement. Also unlike AMC, Regal Unlimited subscribers have to pay surcharges for premium format movies, including 3D, RPX, IMAX, and 4DX movies. Movies at theaters that aren’t included in your plan level will also be subject to upcharges.
Regal’s Unlimited plan might not be quite as attractive as AMC’s A-List, but for those who prefer Regal, it’s an offer that’s been a long time coming. The service will be hosted and facilitated through the app, which has proven so far to be a reliable hub for Regal showtimes, ticketing, and rewards tracking…a benefit that those experienced with MoviePass have come to value.
Regal, with 558 theaters, is the last of the top three largest theater chains in the United States to enter the subscription service game. However, with Cinemark (525 theaters) only offering a subscription plan for 1 rollover movie ticket per month, it’s AMC and Regal that are now leading the industry towards the more unlimited-style moviegoing experience.
The question now is can the largest theater chains make monthly subscriptions to the cinema sustainable for the long term? While the value for consumers is evident, families of 4 or more might have a hard time shelling out nearly $100 a month or more for the benefit of going to the movies when other subscription services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and soon, Disney+ make it hyper affordable for the whole family to stay entertained at home.
Time will tell. But for now, Regal and AMC can will be battling it out for moviegoing market share through subscription signups. Ding Ding! Round One! Fight!
To learn more about Regal Unlimited, click here.