For many, summer is synonymous with the adventure of outdoor activities. Long hikes through the forest, morning runs along the beach, and picnics in the park are just some of the activities I will not be participating in during the next several months, though. That’s because for me, the season is identical with one thing: summer blockbusters.
And what a blockbuster season it’s shaping up to be. Over the next few months, we’ll be graced with some real doozies. I’m talking about the next chapter in the Jurassic Park franchise, a new installment from the Marvel Cinematic Universeand even a gosh-dang origin story for the one and only Buzz Lightyear.
Unfortunately, the cost of these trips to the movie theater to see these blockbusters can rack up fast, and you’re not made of money. Luckily, we’re living in a golden age of movie theaters offering subscription services. Obviously, nothing will ever hold a candle to MoviePass (RIP)but from the ashes rises a phoenix—in the form of a handful of other viable movie theater subscription options.
Let’s take a look at the subscription services offered by some of the largest movie theater chains in the United States and see how many movies you need to see to make their services financially worth it.
Price: Starts at $19.95 per month.
What’s included: Ticket to three movies per week (including showings on IMAX® and Dolby Cinema screens).
Be aware: While their price starts at $19.95, that’s just the first tier of a three-tiered system. This tier only includes access to using your plan in 34 states. If you want to be able to use your membership in all fifty states, you’re going to have to chalk up $23.95 per month.
Conclusion: The fact that your AMC Stubs A-List membership also covers screenings in IMAX and Dolby Cinema theaters is truly clutch. Under the right circumstances, your AMC Stubs A-List membership can pay for itself for the month after just one movie. If you see two movies per month, it’s well worth it. Just make peace with the fact that you’re going to see A LOT of Nicole Kidman.
Price: Starts at $18.00 per month.
What’s included: Ticket to unlimited 2D movies, plus 10% on all food and non-alcoholic concessions.
Be aware: Much like AMC Stubs A-List, this includes a three-tiered system. To have access to all Regal Cinemas theaters across the country, you’re going to have to shell out $23.50 per month. Additionally, this service does not include IMAX shows. Be prepared to pay an up-charge should you want to enjoy your entertainment in more than the standard two dimensions.
Conclusion: What’s nice about the Regal Unlimited plan is there’s no blackout dates and no time restrictions. The plan does not behold you to just matinee screenings. Depending on the cost of living of your state, this plan will pay for itself after either two or three movies per month.
Price: Starts at $19.99 per month.
What’s included: Ticket to one 2D movie per day.
Be aware: Ttechnically, this plan can start at $16.99 per month, but that’s only if you only plan to visit their locations in El Paso and Lubbock, Texas. $19.99 per month gets you access to a majority of cities, and $29.99 gets you access to all theaters across the country. You’ll also have to pay a $1.99 fee to see a movie in 3D, 70mm, or Dolby. There’s also a $1 fee for each ticket you purchase.
Conclusion: Seeing two months per month will cover the cost of your Alamo Drafthouse season pass—just note that all Alamo Drafthouses are dine-in theaters, making it tempting to spend extra money on food and drink, so you’ll need some discipline to make this plan truly worth the money. When you factor in the hidden fees, it’s hard to justify the Alamo Drafthouse Season Pass over what both AMC and Regal are offering.
Price: Starts at $9.99 per month.
What’s included: Ticket to one 2D movie per month, plus 20% off concessions.
Be aware: The goods news? Your unused tickets roll over from month to month. But thereour subscription only includes one ticket per month. You can purchase additional tickets at the member price, and you can cancel your subscription at any time.
Conclusion: I suppose this subscription is worth its price the moment you cash in your one-ticket allotment. The 20% off on concessions is nice, though ultimately still a losing proposition compared to not buying concessions at all. For the casual movie-goer, this plan makes sense, but if you see yourself visiting the theater more than once a month, there are better options out there.
Price: Starts at $9.99 per month.
What’s included: Ticket to one 2D movie per month, pplus 10% off concessions.
Be aware: They also offer a more expensive subscription called MOVIEFLEX+ in which you also free admission to movies on Tuesday. This starts at $14.99.
Conclusion: MOVIEFLEX on its own is a fine deal, nothing revelatory, but MOVIEFLEX+ can be a steal if you have Tuesday flexibility. It’s a great option for a casual movie fan who occasionally has streaks of seeing multiple movies per month.