AMC Theatres Feb. 27 disclosed that its Stubs A-List movie ticket subscription service was profitable for the first time in the fourth quarter, ended Dec. 31, 2019.
The service, launched in June 2018 as a competitor to now-shuttered MoviePass, charges subs $19.95 a month (or $21.95, or $23.95 a month in various regions of the country) enabling subs access to three theatrical screenings per week. The service ended 2019 with more than 900,000 monthly subs.
The world’s largest exhibitor attributed the subscription service’s profitability to a 10% membership price increase in 10 states and a 20% price increase in five states implemented a year ago.
With the average A-List sub frequenting screenings 2.4 times monthly, the chain said that by factoring in a sub’s full-price bring-along guest, food and beverage spending, it contends the program was profitable in the fourth quarter and year’s end, compared to if the program had not existed.
“A-List membership levels and contributions continue to exceed our expectations,” CEO Adam Aron said in a statement.
AMC ended 2019 owning, operating, or having interest in 636 theaters in the U.S. and 368 theaters internationally.
“We are very pleased to have delivered another quarter of strong results to finish 2019,” Aron said. “Despite the U.S. industry box office declining 1.6% in Q4, AMC grew revenue 2.4%.”
At the same time, AMC ballooned it fiscal loss after posting a profit in the previous-year quarter and fiscal year.
Indeed, AMC posted a net loss of $13.5 million in the quarter, compared to income of $170.6 million in the previous-year period. For the fiscal year, AMC posted a loss of $149 million compared to a profit of $110 million in 2018. AMC attributed much of the loss to impairment charges.
Regardless, U.S. attendance in the quarter dropped 4.4% to 62.3 million from 65.2 million. For the year, attendance declined 2.1% to 250 million from nearly 256 million in 2018. Noteworthy considering the attendance declines pre-dated current concerns around the spread of the coronavirus, which could wreak havoc for public venues such as movie theaters.