AMC Theatres May 20 announced its branded Stubs A-List subscription ticket program now tops 800,000 moviegoers — an increase of 200,000 members in 2019. The number make the service the No. 1 service in North America, and well ahead of its one-year target of 500,000 members by June 26.
“We believe we’ve cracked the code to make this concept successful for AMC, our shareholders, our studio partners and most importantly, our guests,” CEO Adam Aron said in a statement.
The milestone comes after the world’s largest theatrical exhibitor reported a net loss of $130.2 million compared to profit of $17.7 million in its most-recent fiscal period. Revenue dropped 13.2% to $1.2 billion.
Indeed, AMC contends the service contributing to the bottom line as A-List members bring friends and family with them to the movies.
Launched in 2018, $19.95 Stubs A-List affords subscribers up to three movies per week, in every available AMC showtime and format, including “Imax at AMC,” “Dolby Cinema at AMC,” RealD 3D and “Prime at AMC.”
Stubs A-List subs have the same privileges as AMC Stubs Premiere members, including free upgrades on popcorn and soda, free refills on large popcorn, express service at the box office and concession stand, no online ticketing fees and 100 points for every $1 spent on the monthly Stubs A-List fee, tickets purchased for friends and family, and food & beverage spending at AMC.
AMC Stubs Premiere and A-List uers receive a $5 reward for every 5,000 points earned, which translates to a 10% credit toward future AMC purchases.
The service offered a two-ticket plan priced at $6.99 monthly (also billed annually); $9.99 for two tickets, including 3D, 4D and Imax formats; and $14.99 for three tickets, including 3D, 4D, Imax formats.
The strategy differed from MoviePass, which has attempted to circumvent exhibitors through a populous approach — with disastrous fiscal results.
The service’s parent, Helios Matheson Analytics, had its stock delisted by Nasdaq after investors fled MoviePass following tens of millions of dollars in quarterly losses due to an unsustainable business model, uncooperative exhibitors and frequent user policy changes, among other issues.
MoviePass reportedly has little more than 200,000 subscribers after once topping 3 million.
Meanwhile, AMC Theatres, the nation’s largest exhibitor, launched its own subscription service, AMC Stubs A-List, which earlier this year reached 700,000 subs paying $20 monthly fee.
Sinemia alluded to A-List for its decision to shut down.
“We are all witnessing that the future of moviegoing is evolving through movie ticket subscriptions,” Sinemia said. “However, we didn’t see a path to sustainability as an independent movie ticket subscription service in the face of competition from movie theaters as they build their own subscriptions. Thanks to the cost advantage and cross-sell opportunities, movie theaters will be prominent in the movie ticket subscription economy.”
MoviePass, the fiscally-challenged theatrical ticket subscription service, has reportedly shed about 90% of its peak of more than 3 million subscribers from June 2018.
According to BusinessInsider, which cited internal data obtained from the former high-profile service, MoviePass has generated just 13,000 new subs since launching an “uncapped” plan in February affording subs daily access to a theatrical screening for $9.95 monthly fee.
The new plan, which was a reboot of a previous price point that attracted 100,000 subs in 48 hours after launching in 2017, also enables MoviePass to throttle frequent users.
MoviePass owner Helios and Matheson Analytics disputes the subscriber tally, calling the data “incorrect” without elaboration.
Regardless, the MoviePass business model paying exhibitors face value for every movie ticket consumed by subscribers remains financially unsustainable.
The service hemorrhaged hundreds of millions of dollars, sending HMNY stock into a nosedive. Company shares were delisted from Nasdaq earlier this year.
Stacy Spikes, who co-founded MoviePass in 2011, sold it to HMNY in 2017 and was fired from the company in 2018, told BusinessInsider the $9.95 price point was never intended to be permanent.
“[It was] thought of as a promotional thing, in a way celebrating HMNY buying us. But we hit 100,000 [subs] in 48 hours. So I’m like, ‘OK, turn it off. We reached our goal,’” Spikes said.
The executive concluded that $12.99 was the least MoviePass could charge, while a $75 option including Imax and 3D screenings was considered as well.
“But the overriding voice [at HMNY] was, ‘No, this is awesome, look how fast we’re growing.’ And it was this moment of ‘but $10.’ It doesn’t fly. Now the plane is falling,” Spikes said.
In fact, when HMNY CEO Ted Farnsworth and MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe were photographed joyfully in front of an AMC Theatre on Times Square after surpassing 1 million subs, Spikes had a different reaction.
“That photo changed [MoviePass’] relationship in the marketplace,” he said. “The tone turned it more adversarial [with exhibitors]. Up to that point, MoviePass had been the underdog champion for going to the movies.”
Indeed, AMC Theatres, which had initially been supportive of MoviePass under CEO Gerry Lopez, became increasingly less so under new CEO Adam Aron.
Aron made it a point to repeatedly question the MoviePass business model on fiscal calls and in press releases – despite generating millions in revenue from MoviePass subs.
Last year AMC launched the AMC Stubs A-List subscription service, which has generated about 700,000 subscribers paying $19.95 monthly for access to three screenings weekly in any format.
AMC recently raised prices to $21.95 or $23.95 depending on the market subscribers live in.
Spikes says the initial success of MoviePass, AMC Stubs A-List and Cinemark’s service underscores market demand for a subscription business model.
“The good side was cinema had not been taken seriously since Netflix really got its footing,” he said. “So what I liked about that was this had risen to the zeitgeist of conversation. Seventy-five percent of [MoviePass] members were under the age of 26. Cinema was an event people cared about again. So while there is a sadness around the brand, I was happy to see that this is front and center.”
Online ticket platform Atom Tickets announced a new service, Atom Movie Access, enabling exhibitors to develop custom theatrical ticket subscription plans for consumers.
The move represents an effort to incorporate movie theaters with the consumer-popular concept of ticket subscriptions, while not alienating exhibitors as was done by subscription pioneer MoviePass.
MoviePass has cited fraudulent use of its $9.95 monthly subscription – not a flawed business model – for the service’s fiscal challenges.
App-based Atom Movie Access affords exhibitors the ability to offer subscribers reserved seating, pre-order concessions, invite friends via social media and check-in using portable media devices.
“We’ve always believed in being a valuable partner to exhibitors, starting with the core functionality of our app, which allows for marketing promotions at specific locations and integrating exhibitor loyalty plans,” Matthew Bakal, co-founder of Atom Tickets, said in a statement.
The service, which is co-owned by Lionsgate, Disney/Fox and Fidelity Management & Research Co., also offers backend support, including payment transactions, customer service and fraud detection.
“Atom Tickets is an innovative ticketing platform that enables exhibitors to reach and engage new and incremental audiences,” Bakal said.
AMC Theatres launched A-List (priced from $19.95 monthly) on June 26, 2018 and was originally expected to hit 500,000 members 12 months after launch. Membership includes access up to three movies per week, in every available AMC showtime and format, including Imax at AMC, Dolby Cinema at AMC, RealD 3D and Prime at AMC.
AMC said its conventional Stubs A-List membership program has totaled 14 million attendees, including the purchase of traditionally-priced tickets for family and friends.
AMC Stubs Premiere and A-List members receive a $5 credits for every 5,000 points earned, which translates to a 10% credit toward future AMC purchases.
“With every passing milestone, Stubs A-List is proving to be a huge benefit to our guests, our studio partners and our shareholders,” CEO Adam Aron said in a statement. “Members are watching more movies than they did before A-List was created, and they’re bringing their friends and family members along, who are paying for their tickets at full price.”
AMC Theatres Dec. 26 announced that its Stubs A-List subscription ticket service has surpassed 600,000 subs since launching six months ago. The nation’s largest theatrical chain had expected to reach 500,000 A-List members after 12 months.
The $19.95 monthly service (which increases to $23.95 on Jan. 9, 2019 at AMCtheatres.com and AMC Theatres app) bowed on June 26 in response to rival service MoviePass.
The service affords members upwards of three movies per week, in every available AMC showtime and format, including Imax at AMC, Dolby Cinema at AMC, RealD 3D and Prime at AMC.
A-List subs also get the discounts and benefits of AMC Stubs Premiere, including free upgrades on popcorn and soda, free refills on large popcorn, express service at the box office, concession stand, and 100 points for every $1 spent for the AMC Stubs A-List monthly fee, tickets purchased for friends and family, and food & beverage spending at AMC.
AMC Stubs Premiere and A-List members receive a $5 virtual reward for every 5,000 points earned, which translates to a 10% credit toward future AMC purchases.
CEO Adam Aron said the success of A-List contributed to Hollywood’s record $11.4 billion domestic 2018 box office.
“What an incredible 2018 for AMC Theatres and our AMC Stubs A-List members,” Aron said in a statement. “To exceed our one-year goal of 500,000 members in 4 ½ months, then add another 100,000 members in the last six weeks of the year is astounding. We remain extremely excited about what’s to come.”
MoviePass, the beleaguered theatrical ticket subscription service, is set to roll out new monthly pricing plans it hopes will financially stabilize the service and restore investor confidence in corporate parent Helios and Matheson Analytics, among other goals.
In an interview with Variety, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe said the new tiered pricing plans – ranging from the existing $9.95 to $24.95 – would be dependent on where subscribers lived.
As a result, consumers living in rural areas would likely see no change to the $9.95 fee (dubbed “select”) affording access to three movies per month at select times, while moviegoers in major markets such as Los Angeles and New York would pay $14.95.
A $19.95 “red carpet” option – which mirrors the fee of a competing service from AMC Theatres – enables rural subscribers access to three screenings at any time in any format (Imax, 3D, 2D). The option costs $24.95 in major cities.
“We have a lot to prove to all our constituents,” said Lowe. “We don’t just have to prove ourselves to our members, we also have to prove ourselves to the investment community, our employees, and our partners.”
Indeed, the service’s well-chronicled missteps largely revolved around an unsustainable business model that paid exhibitors full price for every ticket consumed by subscribers paying less than $10 per month for daily access to a theatrical screening.
With MoviePass unable to convince exhibitors to share in the financial risk in return for enhanced foot traffic and sharing user data – the latter triggering data breach concerns – the service began to hemorrhage money and alienate consumers and investors.
In HMNY’s most-recent fiscal report, the company reported a loss of $137 million and just $6.2 million in cash available. The parent’s stock is worth pennies and in risk of being delisted by Nasdaq – despite a reverse-stock split last summer. A planned second reverse-stock split was abandoned after failing to generate enough shareholder approval.
“Expectations weren’t met,” said Rodes Ponzer, head of marketing. “The creative memes and the consumer vitriol, we understand it. We told customers [theatrical access] was un-limited and we didn’t meet their expectations. Now we’re going to set their expectations properly.”
Helios and Matheson Analytics shareholders have been to this rodeo before.
The corporate parent to fiscally challenged ticket subscription service MoviePass Nov. 13 disclosed that a planned special shareholder meeting regarding a proposed second reverse-stock split has been canceled due to a lack of requisite stockholder votes.
The meeting, previously scheduled for Oct. 18 and then delayed to Nov. 14, had sought to gain approval for 1-for-500 shares reverse-stock split. With shares currently hovering around 1.7 cents per share – 98.3 cents below the mandated $1 per share Nasdaq minimum – HMNY sought to artificially prop up the stock to meet compliance.
Shareholders were perhaps skeptical considering less than six months ago HMNY received approval for a 1-for-250 shares reverse-stock split.
While the split briefly resulted in stock reaching $22.50 per share, in less than five days the stock had again fallen below the $1 minimum – and continued to fall.
Nasdaq has stipulated HMNY has until Dec. 18 to meet compliance. HMNY, in a regulatory filing, said it hopes Nasdaq affords it a second 180-calendar day period to regain compliance.
To qualify for the extension, HMNY would have to demonstrate a realistic path toward elevating the stock price – a strategy it (incredulously) says would likely depend on another reverse-stock split.
The other strategy apparently involves appeals and denial.
“If the company does not regain compliance and is either not eligible for an additional compliance period … the company may appeal the delisting,” it wrote.
Indeed, HMNY would remain listed pending Nasdaq appeals panel’s decision.
Since launching Stubs A-List theatrical ticket subscription service less than five months ago as competition to MoviePass, AMC Theatres has generated 500,000 subs to the $19.95 monthly service.
As a result, CEO Adam Aron now says the service will be profitable in 2019 – a year ahead of projections.
Speaking Nov. 8 on the fiscal call, Aron said the service is generating $120 million in annual revenue that didn’t exist six months ago – excluding concessions. In addition, user data is tracking downward – with average subscriber screenings per month dropping from 3.4 to less than three.
The executive believes the ratio will drop to 2.5 screenings, which translates favorably on the bottom line. As subscribers attend fewer screenings, margins inch toward profitability.
“If this trend continues as other proprietary data in our possession often suggests that it will, we now believe … the program could be [fiscally] accretive,” Aron said.
“If we didn’t have A-List, some of those [subs] wouldn’t be buying tickets at all,” he said. “Some of those [subs] would still be buying tickets at AMC. But they’d be coming less frequently.”
Indeed, AMC plans to raise A-List pricing by 20% in California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts; and up 10% in other big markets.
Aron said feedback on social media to the planned hikes has been positive.
“You should read the Reddit message boards about A-List and our competitors. They’re fans of A-List because it offers them so much value,” he said.
Meanwhile, total AMC domestic Q3 revenue grew 5.9% to $895.6 million. The nation’s largest theatrical chain outperformed the industry, growing domestic attendance per screen by 9.1%, which was more than 4% better than the industry. The company, however, reported a net loss of $100.4 million, up 135% from a loss of $42.7 million during the previous-year period.
Wall Street wasn’t impressed, sending shares down 14% on Nov. 9.
AMC Theatres Nov. 5 announced that its $19.95 ticket subscription service – AMC Stubs A-List – would soon cross more than 500,000 members, eclipsing the company’s membership expectations for the end of the first full year in just 4 1/2 months.
The overall AMC Stubs program has surpassed 17 million-member households, up from about 2.5 million member households only 2 1/2 years ago.
Beginning immediately, households can use a credit card as the payment method for separate, individual A-List accounts. AMC also extended the minimum age for AMC Stubs A-List from 18 years old currently to 16 years old with a valid photo ID.
AMC plans to roll out reserved seating in all AMC-branded theaters and AMC Dine-In theatres by next June. This increase in reserved seating locations will not apply to AMC Classic branded theaters.
AMC-branded theaters in the metropolitan areas of Boston, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, and San Francisco will have access to AMC “mobile ordering,” which lets users purchase food and drinks online at the same time as they reserve their tickets.
AMC said it would increase A-List pricing in states where the program is most popular. Beginning Jan. 9, 2019, the monthly price will increase to $21.95 plus tax in Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington state and The District of Columbia. The price increases to $23.95 plus tax in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.
All current A-List subs as well as subs who sign up before Jan. 9, 2019, will continue at the $19.95 price guarantee for 12 months from the start of their membership.
“Increasing enrollments to 17 million AMC Stubs member households over the past 2 1/2 years, or achieving initial enrollments of a half million members in AMC Stubs A-List in just 4 1/2 months, are astounding numbers,” CEO Adam Aron said in a statement. “Our decision to keep the AMC Stubs A-List monthly price unchanged in 35 states, along with only a modest price adjustment in some key markets, will keep us in that sweet spot of successfully balancing profits and popularity