Updated on March 26, 2023
MoviePass is supposed to be a service that offers a Netflix-like way to watch movies. However, the premise—“see one movie a day for $10/month”—clearly didn’t seem well thought out as a business model. As such, MoviePass has been bleeding money, and resorting to a number of drastic, sudden changes in their service in recent months. That’s on top of users having various problems with buying tickets, etc.
As of this writing, new users are allowed to see three films a month for $9.95, with only a limited selection of films offered. Previously, users could go see any 2D film, whether a new release or an older one.
Despite the changes, I don’t see much of a future for MoviePass, especially with how unappealing the newest plan sounds. But what alternatives exist to MoviePass? I list a few of them below.
Sinemia works through the use of a smartphone app; the service has been around since 2014. Features, and differences from MoviePass, include:
- Multiple different plans at different price ranges. The basic plan currently starts at one (standard 2D) movie ticket per month for $4/month. Other plans go up to $15/month for three tickets per month, for any type of film (including 3D and IMAX). All plans are billed on an annual basis.
- Family plans are offered.
- All films, including new releases, are available to users.
While it’s more expensive up front, Sinemia’s a pretty stable business (unlike MoviePass), offers family plans, and has the advantage of being available for almost all movie theaters.
AMC Stubs A-List
AMC Stubs A-List is the AMC movie theater chain’s own take on MoviePass. Like Sinemia, customers use an app to purchase tickets. Features include:
- Users can watch up to three films a week (or 12 films a month) for $19.95/month. Though a three-month minimum commitment’s required, AMC says it won’t raise the price for a year.
- Monthly billing.
- All films, including new releases and 3D/IMAX films, are available to users.
- No family plans are currently offered.
- Some tie-ins with the chain’s AMC Stubs loyalty club.
While A-List’s monthly rate is more expensive than MoviePass, A-List is also reported as much easier to use. It’s also a more stable business model, as AMC is one of the biggest theater chains in the country. Frequent film goers, or at least those that go more than twice a month, will find A-List cheaper than what a regular ticket costs. Even seeing a movie once a week would mean only paying about $5 a ticket.
As for downsides, the service is only available to use at AMC theaters, which might not be an option depending on where one lives. Fans of conventional Hollywood fare will probably also get more use out of A-List than indie film fans, depending on the theater.
The Cinemark movie theater chain offers its own subscription service. Features include:
- 1 2D movie ticket for $8.99/month, with unused tickets rolling over.
- 20% off concessions.
- Cancelling any time, no minimum commitment required.
The main advantages of Cinemark’s plan include that it’s cheaper than the other plans, as well as the rollover for unused tickets.
The disadvantages include there’s only one ticket per month. And at $9, it’s also not much of a discount, depending on what tickets cost in one’s area. Checking the nearest Cinemark theater to my house, it’s $9.50 for a Saturday matinée for “Crazy Rich Asians.” Finally, the service is also only available at Cinemark theaters.
Wait for the home video release
Of course, there’s just waiting for the movie to come out on home video. As I wrote a few years ago, it’s a lot cheaper to watch films at home versus going to a theater. Redbox, streaming services like Netflix, and digital rental services like Vudu are all among the options available.