It’s fairly clear at this point that even if MoviePass isn’t facing extinction, the good times of seeing any movie, anywhere you want, for a deep discount, are coming to an end. But it’s also clear that no matter what happens to MoviePass, the service might have jump-started a trend that’s impossible to stop, as AMC’s subscription plan is exploding.
Variety reports that AMC’s plan, which lets you see three movies a week at AMC Theaters for $20 a month, is beating its expectations to a degree even AMC wasn’t expecting, just over a month into its launch:
AMC has signed up more than 175,000 to its new subscription service, Stubs A-List, the exhibitor said on Tuesday. AMC had expected to have 500,000 signups by the end of June 2019, and 1 million by June 2020. This puts the company on track to exceed those goals.
Variety is understating the case. With an average of 35,000 new subscribers a week, if AMC keeps adding subscribers at this pace, it’ll cross the 1 million mark before Valentine’s Day. And it’s not hard to see why. Even though AMC’s plan is twice the price, and more restrictive for overall viewing compared to MoviePass, it’s still a better deal both for regular filmgoers, who currently pay an average of $9 per movie, and for people who want to see more movies, but don’t want to gamble a month’s Netflix fee on a movie being terrible. The fact that the Stubs plan also waives ticket fees and reduces concessions costs helps as well.
This was a long time coming. Film attendance is nearly in the toilet, and that’s inarguably thanks to fewer movies, which are safer decisions that lead to studios willing to try and turn obscure toys into movies before gambling on original ideas, and movies just costing more to see in general. For a movie to be a success, it needs to put butts in seats. Subscription plans make it easier to do that, so, MoviePass dying or not, these plans are not going anywhere.