Last September, I wrote a post about MoviePass. It was only a few weeks after MoviePass dropped their price to $9.95/month and sent jolts through the movie industry. At the time, I was seriously considering signing up. I had some reservations due to some initial reviews I’d read, so I was waiting out the initial sign-up period to see if MoviePass would stabilize after the sudden influx of new subscribers.
By all accounts, it did. AMC Theatres stopped balking at the idea and committed to accepting MoviePass cards. After all, they couldn’t block all Mastercards could they? I even proclaimed that if AMC was still accepting MoviePass cards by the holiday movie season, I would be signing up.
But guess what? I never did. And let me tell you why.
I didn’t realize, when I wrote that post, that I couldn’t buy tickets and/or reserve my seat online. I’d have to physically be within 100 yards of the theater I wanted to watch the movie at, in order to initiate the ticket purchasing process. Like, be in the parking lot, fire up the MoviePass app, and reserve my ticket that way. That wasn’t going to work for me.
I also noticed that the lines at the AMC kiosks were out the door with tons of MoviePass subscribers. (I go to a theater that is very close to a college campus, so that made sense). But was your girl gonna stand in that long line, in order to print out her ticket? No, she wasn’t. Especially when big releases typically require a reserved seat, and I don’t get anywhere early.
Similarly, I didn’t take into account that a MoviePass subscription doesn’t include IMAX, 3D, or other premium formats of movies. I know that doesn’t matter to a lot of people, but I watch a ton of 3D and IMAX movies; especially in the summer with the big blockbuster releases.
And this was long before banning repeat viewings, requiring pictures of printed stubs, surge pricing, and upcoming upcharges for premium formats.
So, as you can see, my PRO/CON list basically boiled down to ‘super cheap price vs. convenience’ for me. And I have always been willing to pay a premium for convenience. But, after fees and surcharges are factored in, I’d likely be paying far more than MoviePass’s advertised monthly subscription fee. And if you don’t keep track, checking your credit card statement might give you sticker shock!
Enter AMC Theatres with their own movie subscription service, in late June. Right on time!
For twice the price of MoviePass, AMC will allow me to:
See 3 movies per week
– In any format (e.g. 3D, IMAX, Dolby etc)
– Using the app for reservations
– With no limits on how many times I could see a particular movie
– No surge pricing for popular releases
All AMC Theatres asks for is a 3-month commitment; after which, I can cancel. (But I won’t be able to sign up again or 6 months)
There’s more, but the above mentioned is all I needed to hear to convince me to sign up. I haven’t yet, but that’s because I’m waiting for August. I’m done watching movies for July, so I don’t need to pay a subscription service to not watch movies for 2 weeks.
I’m not here to bash MoviePass. It’s still a great deal, and especially if you don’t care about any of the hurdles that were deal breakers to me. Also, there aren’t AMC theaters everywhere. If you’re in a market that doesn’t have them, obviously Stubs A-List isn’t a viable option for you. Or if you like see small, independent movies at other theater chains. Because none of the available options have family or couples plans, a lot of people are signing up for A-List, but also keeping MoviePass, so they can create their own couples or family plan.
The Internet likes to turn everything into fan wars, and that is always something that irks my soul. What works for me, may not work for you and visa versa. There is no “better” here, just what fits your needs. For me, that is clearly AMC’s Stubs A-List subscription; especially since I have been a paying Stubs Premiere member for years and spend 99% of my movie watching at AMC theaters.