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Theater chain offers subscription service

A generation from now, will Americans still be going out to movie theaters?

For over a century, people have flocked to the movies -- to escape reality, sit out bad weather and, in general, to be entertained for a couple hours without spending a fortune.

But with the introduction of new entertainment technologies like online and on-demand programming, more consumers are opting to stay in, save money and watch first-run movies from the comfort of their homes rather than shell out record-high prices for tickets.

Movie theaters have been trying to lure customers back by offering consumers films in larger-than-life IMAX and 3D formats, as well as with perks like in-theater dining and bar service. Now, AMC Theatres (AMC) and MoviePass have announced a trial program in two test markets that will offer movie-goers a subscription service.

The subscription package, called MoviePass Premium, will be offered at AMC theaters in Boston and Denver and will be provided "to AMC guests on a first-come, first-served basis."

Subscribers signing up for MoviePass Premium can see one movie per day in any of the listed cities, and in any presentation format, for up to $45 per month. There's also a standard MoviePass subscription option that lets the buyer see one movie per day in the traditional 2D format for $35 per month.

"This is the first time a premium-level subscription service has been launched in the U.S. and marks a significant step forward by offering passionate movie lovers the premium sight and sound experiences available in movie theaters," Stacy Spikes, MoviePass CEO and Co-Founder, said in a statement.

"We believe this premium tier subscription, combined with a new online ticketing feature, will appeal to our largest demographic, 18-34-year-old movie goers," he added. "Our goal is to keep people coming out to the movies again and again."

The MoviePass Premium subscription service could find a customer base in major movie markets like New York and Los Angeles, cities where movies tickets can average around $15 per viewer.

MoviePass began in 2011 and, as the entertainment industry newspaper Variety notes, it was originally opposed by AMC amid fears the service would hurt the movie theater chain's ticket prices.

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