AMC is challenging MoviePass with a subscription plan of its own

AMC Theater

What just happened? AMC Theatres on Wednesday announced a new VIP tier of its AMC Stubs loyalty program that puts MoviePass and similar competitors on notice.

AMC's new service is about twice as expensive as MoviePass' offering, which charges customers $9.95 per month for daily trips to the movies, though subscribers can't view the same movie a couple of times or share their accounts with others.

"AMC Stubs A-List rewards guests with something that no one else offers: the very best of AMC, including IMAX, Dolby Cinema and RealD 3D up to 3 times per week, for one simple, sustainable price..."

Stubs A-List costs more and is of course limited to AMC theaters, but AMC is taking direct aim at MoviePass with features like seeing multiple movies per day and repeat visits to a movie you've already seen.

Theatres chief executive Adam Aron pointedly said in a statement that AMC's program is at a "sustainable price".

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In January, MoviePass flexed its muscles back against AMC, closing down its access to 10 popular AMC theaters - including one in Santa Clara. AMC Stubs-A-List launches on Tuesday, June 26. MoviePass pays for full-priced tickets and sells them at a discounted rate in order to capitalize on user data.

MoviePass has attracted 3 million members, but the stock price of the service's parent company, Helios and Matheson, has dropped from $38 a share to 44 cents a share.

AMC Theatres shares rose almost 2.5% on the announcement.

Since MoviePass announced its new subscription plan last August, it immediately butted heads with AMC. AMC Stubs A-List subscribers will receive free upgrades on popcorn and soda, free refills on large popcorn, a free popcorn and soda on their birthdays, express service at the box office and concession stand, no online ticketing fees and an automatic enrollment into AMC's rewards program. "AMC has repeatedly disparaged our model as a way to discourage our growth because all along they wanted to launch their own, more expensive plan". "We want to make movies more accessible, they want more profit". Movies won't carry over if a subscriber sees fewer than three films in a week. AMC is also waiving its normal $15 Premiere annual fee for Stubs A-List members.

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