Paying only $10 a month for access to a movie screening every day is a deal that sounds too good to be true. Yet, in August of 2017, the subscription company MoviePass was able to make this film lovers’ dream a reality, and attracted both a surge of subscribers and skepticism. In a world where standard movie tickets can cost as much as $15, MoviePass allowed its users to watch dozens of films per month at a fraction of the upfront cost. The company offered deals of this kind for several years prior, but at a higher price point. When the subscription price dropped to a seemingly miraculous $9.95 a month, a wave of new subscribers jumped on it, with many not realizing that it would only last so long.

It doesn’t take a seasoned financial analyst to figure out that the downfall of this deal was practically inevitable. About a year after its price drop and following a slew of serious financial setbacks, MoviePass announced a number of changes to its service in order to transition to a more sustainable model. Those changes were eventually rolled back as well, with MoviePass settling on a limit of just three movies a month for the same monthly fee of $9.95, with a couple additional restrictions tacked on. For those who never used MoviePass to its capacity, the deal remains somewhat attractive—yet for many, it no longer seems worth it with all the other available options for subscription–based entertainment, and especially with the growth of streaming platforms and the accompanying decrease in theater attendance.

Still, for those who are interested in a cheaper way to enjoy the movie theater experience, several companies have established subscription services similar to the one provided by MoviePass. With varying perks and price points, these services appeal to a range of audiences. Sinema is a subscription service that in many ways mirrors MoviePass, but adds on several valuable additional features that may sway former users of MoviePass its way. At $9.95 a month, subscribers can watch up to three movies and can purchase advance tickets. The service also includes a cardless feature and optional family plans.

For filmgoers who intend on hitting the theater multiple times a week, the theater chain AMC offers the AMC Stubs AList, a service that covers three movies a week at $19.95 a month, including IMAX and 3D screenings, a feature not covered by MoviePass. 

Like AMC, the theater chain Cinemark offers subscription to the Cinemark Movie Club that applies to their theaters only. At $8.99 a month, subscribers are allowed one movie viewing (which can roll over to the next month) and 20% off concessions. The service is aimed at more casual moviegoers and offers an inexpensive alternative to AMC’s A–List.

In a world where entertainment is so readily available in the palms of our hands, the theater–going experience can sometimes feel like a thing of the past. However, subscription services like MoviePass and its competitors have attempted to make going to the movies more affordable for those of us who enjoy the big screen, even if, for now, unlimited movies are off the table.


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