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MoviePass may be cratering, but movie theater subscriptions are here to stay.
AMC and Cinemark already operate their own online ticketing services. And by the end of July, Regal Entertainment is expected to unveil a subscription plan for customers accustomed to getting all manner of entertainment for a monthly fee.
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With ticket sales down more than 8% from last year, exhibitors and studios are eager to find a reliable way to fill poorly trafficked theaters. The cost-effective models AMC and Cinemark offer are luring audiences the same way music lovers flocked to Spotify and TV buffs pledged allegiance to Netflix. AMC reports that 860,000 people have signed up for Stubs A-List, with the average member going to the movies 2.6 times per month. Meanwhile, the 700,000 Cinemark Movie Club cardholders go to the cinema roughly once a month. For comparison, the average American attends a movie five times per year. Regal’s parent company, Cineworld, has had success in this space in Europe, which could bode well as the Nashville-based exhibitor gets into the subscription space.
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For the companies that make movies and for people interested in more than just Marvel films, it’s a welcome development. Subscription services likely aren’t moving the needle when it comes to blockbusters — audiences were going to flood theaters en masse anyway to bid farewell to their favorite superheroes in “Avengers: Endgame.” But moviegoers do use these programs to see smaller comedies and dramas, the kind of pictures they might be less inclined to spend $20 to catch on the big screen. “If a consumer says, ‘I don’t need to see this B-level movie but now I’ve already got this subscription so I will go see it, that’s a benefit...
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