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Regal Cinemas launches ‘Regal Unlimited’ movie subscription service

Nick Major
July 31, 2019

MoviePass… haven’t heard that name around these parts in a while…

Let’s take a walk down memory lane.

Almost exactly two years ago - in August of 2017 - a not so well known movie subscription service changed their business model and forever changed the movie-going experience.

Founded in 2011, MoviePass offered a subscription service which allowed members to see unlimited movies per-month (one a day) for a fee that was based off where that specific member was located.

For example, it could cost you around $50 per-month to join if you were in a bigger city like Los Angeles or New York or drop down to a monthly cost of $20 in smaller markets.

Back to August 2017.

MoviePass made a shocking and exciting announcement:

See one movie a day, anywhere, for only $9.95 per-month!!

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MoviePass... ah, the good ol' days

Right from the start, the offer seemed way to good to be true. However, to the surprise of many, it worked just as advertised and before long everyone seemed to have joined MoviePass. In the months following, they boasted over 3 million paying subscribers.

Then reality hit. 

And we all knew it was coming. 

With movie tickets ranging from $9 - $16, it just didn’t make sense how it was a sustainable business model and the cracks began to show with app outages, unexpected changes in terms & conditions, and in one case the company literally ran out of money and had to take out a high-interest loan to meet demand.

In case you aren’t aware - the way it worked was MoviePass would send you a debit card upon signing up and when you checked into a movie from the app, they would load the cost of the ticket onto that card for you to then use at the theater.

As the inevitable downfall struck - the company tried everything they could to stay afloat… increasing prices, limiting which movies you could see and at which theaters, even charging people who had cancelled their accounts already and all these persistent issues became a constant headache that left many jumping ship.

The latest reports claim around 200,000 people are still using MoviePass.

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Deep down, we all knew it was too good to be true but it was fun while it lasted!

There’s a lot more to the rise and fall of MoviePass but to wrap this up and move on to the next part of the article… the company is currently on a bit of a “hiatus” as they apparently rework their app & model to improve user experience. So, you can’t even use the service and when they’ll be back… no one knows.

Here's a look at the current homepage:

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While the business model made no sense, what was very clear is that the consumers loved the idea of a movie theater subscription service and the theaters took note.

The top-dog now in that world is AMC Theaters who - after public disapproval of MoviePass and their business model - created AMC A-List.

For around $20 per-month, subscribers can see up to 3 movies a week at any AMC theater. Including IMAX and 3D films (which was not possible with MoviePass).

AMC A-List is now the most popular movie subscription service with well over 860,000 members.

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Keep in mind, when a movie is in theaters, the studios behind the film(s) and theaters who show them will split the cost of the ticket nearly down the middle in regards to what they each earn - maybe a sliver more going to the studio. This alone makes much more sense in having the theaters create their own subscription services.

Cinemark’s Cinemark Movie Club allows members to see one 2D movie per-month and if you don’t see a movie in a particular month - it will transfer to the next month as well as 20% off concessions. Pricing varies based on location. 

In typing in a Los Angeles area code on their website, it appears the service in LA costs $9.99 per-month.

The latest player to join the game is Regal Cinemas with Regal Unlimited.

article body image'Regal Unlimited' is the new subscription service from Regal; there are three options

Here is a breakdown of what the new Regal Unlimited plans offer and what they’ll cost you.

Regal Unlimited: $18 a month for unlimited movies at over 200 Regal Theaters.

Regal Unlimited Plus: $21 a month for unlimited movies at over 400 Regal Theaters.

Regal Unlimited All Access: $23.50 a month for unlimited movies at any Regal Theater.

Regal has around 550 theaters in the United States and these plans all also include 10% off concessions.

Important things to know when signing up:

Whichever tier of the program you sign up for, you are locked into that plan for one year and cannot cancel. After that year, you can opt for a monthly plan.

And, to be clear, even when you’re locked in for the year you can still pay monthly. It doesn’t all need to be paid up front.

You’ll be charged a 50¢ service fee for each ticket you purchase within the Regal app.

The plans allow for 2D movies - premium formant movies will be an additional cost ranging from $1.50 to $3.

So, these are some of your options in the world of movie theater subscription services. Whichever theater chain is closest to you will likely be a deciding factor in which one makes the most sense for you.

Will you be joining Regal Unlimited? Are you a part of another subscription service?

Head to the comments below to share your thoughts!

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