AMC Stubs A-List vs. MoviePass: Which Service Is Best For True Movie Buffs?

MoviePass finally has a proper competitor, as AMC has just announced a new subscription plan called AMC Stubs A-List. This service offers basically the same kind of thing as MoviePass: you pay a flat monthly fee in order to save money watching a bunch of movies in theaters.

So for hardcore movie fans who find themselves at the theater constantly, what service is better? Should you make the switch to AMC Stubs A-List, or should you stick with MoviePass?

First, let’s take a look at all of the major details here and then discuss reasons you might want to switch over, as well as reasons you might want to stay with MoviePass.

The pitch

Two women eating popcorn at a movie theatre.

Entertainment on a budget! | LightFieldStudios/iStock/Getty Images

We’ll start off with the most important questions: how much is the service, and how many movies can you see with it?

A-List will be $19.99 per month, so $10 more than MoviePass. But while this new service is more expensive, we’ll get into reasons it might actually be a better deal for some subscribers in a minute.

With A-list, you can see three movies per week. That’s different than MoviePass, which lets you see seven movies per week. But it still means you’re seeing up to 12 movies for $19.99 and therefore saving a ton of money.

A-List lets you see premium format movies

One of the big differences between the two services is that A-list actually lets you see premium format movies.

MoviePass users will know that it does not allow you to see movies in anything other than regular 2D; showings in 3D, IMAX, 4DX, and any other format like that are completely off limits.

For a lot of movie buffs who love IMAX or 3D movies, this is a big deal. In New York City, the price of an IMAX ticket is typically over $20. So if you saw a single IMAX movie with A-List per month, it would be worth it.

There are still some small restrictions; you can’t use A-List for special events like double features or VR experiences. But for the most part, A-List gives you access to almost everything, while MoviePass does not.

You can reserve your seat online

People at a movie theatre.

Movie buffs will get to watch even more flicks. | Igoriss/Getty Images

Perhaps the primary issue with MoviePass right now is that it does not allow you to reserve your seat in advance.

This is a big problem considering theaters are increasingly moving towards reserved seating. Say, for instance, you wanted to go see Avengers: Infinity War on opening night. This would be virtually impossible with MoviePass. You could physically go to the theater in question on the morning of the showing and try to get your ticket with MoviePass then, but chances are, all of the good seats would have sold out long in advance since that was such a highly anticipated film.

A-List would eliminate that problem, as you can use it to reserve your seats online as soon as tickets go on sale. The only restriction is that according to AMC’s website, you can’t have more than three tickets reserved at once.

You can see the same movie again and see more than one a day

Recently, MoviePass introduced a pretty annoying restriction: users can only see the same movie one time. This was strategically put into effect right before Avengers: Infinity War opened, as that’s a movie that subscribers would have likely seen again and again if they could.

AMC doesn’t mention anything about not being able to see the same movie a second or third time with A-List, though. Presumably, you could use all 12 of your films of the month on Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom if you wanted to. For movie fans who like to see the same films two or three times in theaters, this is another massive upside.

Another big perk is the fact that although you can only see three movies per week, you can see them all in one day if you want to. This is as opposed to MoviePass, which only lets you see one movie per day.

Some other perks

Two movie-goers sharing popcorn.

Here are the perks to consider! |Antonio_Diaz/Getty Images

In addition, by subscribing to A-List, you’re also getting all of the perks of being an AMC Stubs Premiere member.

These perks include:

  • Collecting points and getting $5 for every 5,000 points you earn
  • Having your online ticketing fees waived
  • Being able to skip the line at the concession stand and box office

Reasons you might want to switch to A-List

So if you’re already a MoviePass subscriber, why might you want to switch to A-List? Here are some of the circumstances under which this would work out better for you:

  • You like watching movies in premium formats like IMAX and 3D but haven’t been able to do so with MoviePass.
  • You like seeing popular movies on opening night but frequently find yourself not getting good seats because the best ones are sold out in advance.
  • The theater you go to most frequently is an AMC.
  • You like to see the same movie more than once in theaters.
  • You like to see more than one movie in the same day.
  • You are concerned about the long-term viability of MoviePass and would rather subscribe to something that you feel confident will be around in a year.

Reasons you might want to keep MoviePass

On the other hand, there are definitely still some reasons you might prefer MoviePass to A-List.

Those would be:

  • The theater you go to most frequently is not an AMC.
  • You often see more than three movies per week.
  • Seeing movies in premium formats like 3D or IMAX does not appeal to you.
  • You don’t usually see movies on their opening nights and don’t have any issues getting good seats with MoviePass.
  • You just don’t want to spend another $10 a month on a movie subscription service.

Why not both?

Of course, there’s a third option outside of switching from MoviePass or keeping it. If you can afford to do so, you could always just subscribe to both.

After all, a lot of hardcore movie fans find themselves using MoviePass for indie releases or for seeing movies on a Sunday afternoon, but when it comes to the big blockbusters that they’ll want to be there for on opening night, they end up just buying a full-price ticket in order to secure a good seat.

If that’s you, and you spend $19.99 or more on tickets per month, it may actually be worth it to subscribe to both services. MoviePass can be used specifically for when you visit non-AMC theaters and when getting seats isn’t an issue, i.e. going to see a limited-release film at an indie theater on a Sunday afternoon.

Then, when it’s time to go see something like Avengers: Infinity War on opening night, maybe in IMAX, that’s when A-list will come in handy. Chances are, if you choose a premium format, the service will have already paid for itself that one time. And then when MoviePass inevitably goes out of business, you’ll be ready to use A-List exclusively (or switch to whatever competing services will likely be out by that time).

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