AMC, the second-largest movie theater chain behind Regal Entertainment with close to 5,000 movie screens around the country, has partnered with MoviePass to test run a subscription service that allows members to see one film a day for a monthly fee of $35 for standard films and $45 for IMAX and 3D.
According to the Denver Post, AMC Theaters and MoviePass will test market the service, called MoviePass Premium, in metro Denver and Boston AMC theaters in hopes to revive the steady decline in theater attendance. With the box office reaching an all time low in summer ticket sales since 2001 (no movie topped $300 million), MoviePass Premium may drive extra traffic to theaters. It's an ambitious plan, but like both the music and news industries, film is fighting a tough battle with the Internet.
Since 2007, moviegoing has seen a downward trend among young adults, as reported in Nielsen's 2014 Moviegoing Report released last week. Audiences between the ages of 12 and 24 years old had a 15.5 percent decrease, seeing an average of 7.1 movies a year, one point less than the relatively stable 25 to 44 age group.
"Millennials are consuming things differently, and that includes going to the movies," Stacy Spikes, MoviePass's chief executive and co-founder told the New York Times.
Streaming content instantly appeals more to young adults, initiating the decline as an unlimited amount of movies are readily made available for just $8 a month on Netflix or found for free elsewhere on the Internet. According to the Nielsen Report, 87 percent of young adults say they stream movies or TV shows, with more than 60 percent stating they've streamed at least two films in a single day. That same age group are reportedly more likely to see a movie in a theater as a group and rely on social media as a trusted source of movie information.
To combat that trend, AMC's average ticket prices increased 5.3 percent this year to $9.48, according to the New York Times, and reach as high as $15 in New York City, making this is a great deal for film enthusiasts that will take full advantage each month—even if you see at least three movies each month, it still saves you enough money for popcorn.
This isn't the first time AMC attempted to gauge consumer interest; last month they offered unlimited viewings of Interstellar to AMC Stubs members for $19.99. However, while theaters will be paid full price for every admission, they will need to rely on moviegoers to not actually increase their attendance. It's a simple economics trick that works similar to gym membership: "Some overuse, a lot underuse," Spikes told the New York Times.
The subscription service is expected to launch Jan. 5 and will be available on a limited basis, allowing subscribers to see any movie only once. Additional cities will be added based on the success rate of the service. "This is something we'd have to figure out and road-map together," Spikes told Denver Post. "We will follow whatever patterns we see."
Are you a frequent moviegoer? Would you subscribe for unlimited movies at AMC Theaters if the service was brought to your hometown? Let us know in the comments below.