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Beyond MoviePass: The major movie subscription plans, ranked

Beyond MoviePass: The major movie subscription plans, ranked

Beyond MoviePass: The major movie subscription plans, ranked

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- I've seen 29 movies in the theater this year.

That's the most since my college days when I routinely saw 50 movies every year. The reason: movie subscription plans.

Services such as MoviePass or Cinemark Movie Club have made going to the cinema cheaper, less risky and more convenient.

Sure, I would've watched "Black Panther" or "A Star Is Born" anyway and gladly paid out of pocket. But without my movie club card, I would've never have considered seeing smaller, independent films such as "Lady Bird" or "I, Tonya" or even guilty pleasure popcorn movies like "Red Sparrow" or "Jumanji" (I didn't see the original).

Now, with my current plan set to expire just as an onslaught of new movies from "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald" to "Welcome to Marwen" are set to arrive in theaters, it's a good time to look closely at all four of the major movie subscription services.

You'll find that not all are c reated equally and what might suit my needs, might not fit yours.


Monthly fee: $8.99

Included movies per month: 1

Additional benefits: Unused credits roll over, additional tickets can be purchased for $8.99, 20% off concessions, online fees waived.

Restrictions: 3D or IMAX movies not included. Good at Cinemark theaters only.

Comment: It helps if you think of Cinemark's offering as more of a rewards program than a movie subscription plan. If you normally see matinees, you're better off just buying a ticket at the box office as it is cheaper than the monthly fee. However, if you go at night when ticket prices are more than $10 and always buy popcorn and soda, you'll save, at most, a few bucks.



Monthly fee: $9.95

Included movies per month: 3

Additional benefits: Can be used at 90 percent of theaters. Discount of up to $5 on additional tickets.

Restrictions: Subscribers can only see certain movies at certain times and the same movie only once. Tickets must be purchased in person at the theater.

Comment: MoviePass shook up the movie subscription business late last year, offering a movie a day for under $10 a month. As predicted, however, that business model proved to be unsustainable and the company has since had to pivot and change course constantly, trying to deflect the wrath of its customers, shareholders, creditors and the New York State Attorney General. Unless you don't mind watching lesser known films and not planning ahead, the current plan is an exercise in inconvenience. For example, the reigning box office champ, "Halloween," appears on MoviePass' rotating schedule just on ce (a Thursday, no less) over its first 10 days of release. Furthermore, since advance online purchases aren't permitted, subscribers might get to the theater only to find their movie and/or showtime is no longer available. So, who's up for "All About Nina" instead?



Monthly fee: Plans start at $4.99 and top out at $29.99

Included movies: 1, 2, 3 or 30 depending on plan

Additional benefits: Can be used at any theater. Advance ticketing available. Elite plans include 3D and IMAX movies.

Restrictions: Elite subscribers can only watch one 3D or IMAX every 30 days.

Comment: Sinemia's offerings are the most flexible. Chances are good you'll find a plan that fits your moviegoing habits. The caveat is that you have to pay for the entire year if you want to maximize your savings and not be subject to a $20 "club initiation fee" or unexpected increases in the monthly rate. Still, if you can deal with Sinemia's glitchy app and have the cash up front, the 3-movie/$8.99 a month annual plan is a pretty good value with an effective cost of $3 per movie.



Monthly fee: $19.95

Included movies: 3 per week

Additional benefits: 3D and IMAX showings included. Advanced online ticketing with no fees. 10% back on concession purchases, VIP priority lane and free size upgrades on popcorn and soda.

Restrictions: Can only be used at AMC Theaters (there are 3 in the Cleveland area). 3-month commitment required.

Comment: $20 a month sounds like a lot, but if you're really into movies, you can conceivably see 144 films in a year for a total cost of $240 pl us tax. That works out to just $1.67 per movie! However, if you see at most two movies a month, this plan isn't for you.

Source: Google News Movie

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