MoviePass had the right idea. It just went about it all wrong.
Regal Cinemas is launching its own movie ticket subscription program. It’s called Regal Unlimited, and it’s expected to launch next week.
According to Regal Unlimited’s official website, the cinema chain offers different tiers of pricing for its monthly subscriptions, which include unlimited movie tickets, 10% reductions on concession items, and free soda and popcorn on your birthday. The more that you pay, the more Regal theaters you can visit to watch free movies. For access to 200 Regal theaters, you’ll pay $18 a month. For access to all 550 or so Regal theaters, it’s $24.
Regal Unlimited only includes standard theater screens, so you’ll need to pay a surcharge to see movies in 3D or IMAX. In addition, you may have to pay a $0.50 service fee for each ticket you buy through the Regal Unlimited app.
Other movie subscription services include Regal’s competitor, AMC’s Stubs A-List, which has different pricing depending on the state. Subscribers also get money off of concessions with AMC’s subscription, but instead of instant reductions, subscribers receive a voucher.
Regal Cinemas has more than 7,000 movie screens in 550 theaters across 43 states. It currently has a movie reward program, known as Regal Crown Club, where subscribers can earn 100 credits for every dollar spent that can go toward movie tickets or concession stand items.
Regal’s move into movie subscription services comes at a time when the movie theater industry is seeing a decrease in moviegoers. The Hollywood Reporter says that box office revenue is down by 10% so far this year. It also reports that ticket sales for the typically successful summer blockbuster season are down by 7.3%.
MoviePass was the first to embark on an unlimited movie subscription service in 2011. In 2017, it changed its business model to a lower price, allowing one film per day. Since then though, the company has had a history of trouble keeping financially afloat and has had to change its rules on the fly to make ends meet, which has eroded customer trust. MoviePass suspended service indefinitely in early July 2019, citing technical updates. It has yet to reopen.
For die-hard movie-lovers though, these subscriptions make sense, and individual theater chains have seen similar services flourish. AMC Stubs A-List, for example, added 100,000 new customers in January and February, and recently passed the 800,000-subscriber threshold. They’re a good deal for fans, too. Moviegoers who see movies two times a month or more end up saving money at the end of the day.
There is also still time for the summer movie slump to change, with blockbusters like Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, The Lion King, and a new addition to the Fast and Furious franchise leading the way into August.
Updated on July 26, 2019: Added official confirmation of Regal Unlimited, and updated pricing information and details about the ongoing MoviePass saga.