Why a Movie Theater Chain Launched a New Membership Model

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This summer, MoviePass changed how people go to the movies. Arclight charges $15 a year for a similar type of program akin to Cinemark's, while AMC has two tiers of their Stubs program: one gratis and a premiere level at $15 a month that includes $5 off Tuesday tickets, free concession upgrades, and a faster means for members to earn points toward free tickets. For ten bucks a month, users could see one movie per day (3-D and IMAX screenings not included), good at 90 percent of the theaters in the country. Unused tickets will roll over and never expire for active members.

Cinemark owns almost 350 theaters in the US, including 15 in Utah.

The Los Angeles Times reports Cinemark's move is a response to MoviePass, a new start-up that offers unlimited movies in theaters for $9.95 a month.

An additional argument in that general direction: This week, Cinemark announced a movie plan of its own.

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On Tuesday, Cinemark - which has theaters at Capital Mall in Olympia, in Tacoma and Federal Way - rolled out Movie Club, a subscription discount service.

While most people get their content online in an increasingly digital world, we shouldn't forget where most of it came from - the movie theater. The club also allows members to bring their friends to movies for reduced rates and receive discounts at concession shops.

Cinemark's less dramatic savings may make it more sustainable. However, it's hard for exhibitors to pull off a MoviePass model: There's no way for them to discount significantly without cutting into a studio's rental, and that's what the majors don't want. He noted that "most consumers wanted the ability to stockpile discounted tickets", according to CNNMoney.

"We are thrilled to launch our proprietary movie membership program that is completely consumer research-driven", said Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi in a statement. At a time when the movie industry is in crisis-when the overall box office gross in 2017 now sits at $9.855 billion, down considerably from 2016's $11.375 billion, and endless streaming services tempt consumers to watch at home-any service that gets more people to theaters is a boon for the industry.

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