SALT LAKE CITY — The on-again, off-again rivalry between MoviePass and AMC Theaters just flipped back on.
AMC Theaters announced Wednesday it will offer a new subscription service that allows moviegoers to see three movies a week for $19.95 per month.
The service, called AMC Stubs A-List, will be included in the movie chain’s loyalty program. The service will launch June 26.
The service allows users to watch multiple movies in a day and see the same movie more than once. It will also notify users of discounts on food and drink.
One difference from MoviePass — the service will allow you to make reservations in advance without being at the theater. Currently, MoviePass requires you to physically be at the theater where you’re seeing a movie.
AMC said the service will give moviegoers a chance to upgrade their popcorn and soda sizes, and earn credit toward other AMC purchases.
Patrons can sign up for the service next week.
An AMC representative told The Verge the service isn't meant to compete with MoviePass.
“We understand the comparison, but we’re focused on our own program and on delivering the very best, most reliable movie-going value option in the entertainment industry, which is what we believe AMC Stubs A-List provides to our guests,” the representative told The Verge. “It’s simple, seamless, and a great way to go to the movies.”
AMC and MoviePass first butted heads last August when MoviePass, which offers a movie-a-day service, announced it would lower its price to $9.99 per month. AMC called MoviePass “a small fringe player” and said the pricing model “is not in the best interest of moviegoers, movie theatres and movie studios,” according to Variety.
MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe said he was worried AMC’s negative stance would hurt how people see MoviePass, the Deseret News reported.
“I’m not worried about it killing the sale,” he said. “What I’m worried about is it confusing customers and making them believe they can’t use this service at AMC theaters.”
Five months later, MoviePass stopped working at certain AMC theaters, including Empire 25 in NYC, the Universal City Walk, AMC Loews Boston Common and the AMC Century Plaza.
People originally thought AMC was turning away MoviePass. But MoviePass later said its subscription service stopped working at those theaters because the tickets cost too much for moviegoers, according to the Deseret News.
In April, MoviePass changed its mind so that it worked in all AMC theaters after its "winter feud," according to Deadline.
In the meantime, Cinemark announced its own subscription service that, for $8.99 per month, gave customers one movie ticket per month.
Another competitor, Sinemia, popped up with offers of features that aren't included in MoviePass, like advanced ticket purchases.
Writer Nick Statt of The Verge said movie theater companies might be fearful of MoviePass since the subscription service changes how customers see the value of a ticket.
"Now, nothing really gets in the way of going to the theater except how much free time I have," he wrote. "But once you’ve gotten something for what feels like free, it’s difficult to go back to paying for it. If MoviePass went away, I’d still reserve money and time to see one or two films a month, but I’d be more choosy than I used to be and more reluctant about paying full price for tickets. I can imagine other subscribers writing off theaters until something similar to MoviePass pops up again — especially with so many other, cheaper entertainment options available."