Movie ticket subscription services are an excellent way to make moviegoing more affordable. For one monthly fee, you get the opportunity to see a number of movies for much less than the box office price. In some instances, it’s no additional charge whatsoever to reserve a ticket. In others, you only have to pay a low convenience fee. Naturally, there’s a lot of competition in this particular space. Let’s compare and contrast two popular options: Alamo Season Pass vs. AMC Stubs A-List. Which movie ticket subscription service is ultimately the best?
Alamo Season Pass vs. AMC Stubs A-List: Side-By-Side Comparison
|Alamo Season Pass||AMC Stubs A-List|
|First Introduced||February 2020||June 2018|
|Price Per Month||$16.99-$29.99 plus tax||$19.95-$24.95|
|Convenience Fee||Varies by location||None|
|Showings With Additional Fees||3D, 70mm, Dolby Atmos, Big Show, Movie Parties, Feasts||Fathom Events and other special screenings|
|Free Birthday Gift||None||Free large popcorn and drink combo|
|Early Access Screenings||Yes||Yes|
|Ticket Limits||1 ticket a day||3 tickets a week|
|Reservation Limits||2 reservations up to 7 days in advance||3 reservations at a time with no blackout dates|
|Plans for Couples?||Yes, $18.99/month for Extra Seats||No, but multiple members can create an A-List Entourage|
|Number of Theaters||More than 40||Around 950|
5 Must-Know Facts About Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas
- Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas make for a next-level moviegoing experience. They feature a full waitstaff that caters to your every whim (so long as it’s on the menu). Moviegoers can buzz their server and write their orders on a note so as to not interrupt the film. The chain includes a rotating menu with great food and drink options and dozens of different beers.
- Older movies are just as commonly found at an Alamo Drafthouses as newer releases. Each month tends to feature special screenings revolving around certain themes. (For example, April will feature a number of throwback Al Pacino movies such as Dog Day Afternoon and Scarface.) Fans of the classics will be quite happy with each monthly Alamo Drafthouse calendar.
- A number of Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas also include a fully stocked video rental store within the theater. Better yet, these video rental stores let you rent out up to two movies a week at no charge whatsoever. (If you want more than two rentals in a given week, each additional rental will run you $2.99 a pop.)
- Most Alamo Drafthouse theaters include 35mm film projectors. While this projection method was standard back in the day, most theater chains have completely done away with the old-fashioned (and highly superior) way of showing films in favor of digital projection. Some Alamo Drafthouses even offer 70mm projection, which is even greater than the 35mm viewing experience.
- The Alamo Drafthouse maintains an incredibly strict code of conduct within its theaters. No talking, no texting, no arriving late after the movie has already started, and no disruptive behavior of any kind. They aren’t afraid to remove rowdy guests (or simply redirect them to their Movie Parties, which are designated for much more… expressive moviegoing behavior).
Alamo Season Pass vs. AMC Stubs A-List: Key Differences
Now that the basic specs of the Alamo Season Pass vs. AMC Stubs A-List debate have been made clear, it’s worth asking another question: What are the most significant distinctions to be made between these two movie ticket subscription services? In other words, what are the key differences between the Alamo Season Pass vs. AMC Stubs A-List? From the true cost of each subscription to the kind of limitations and advantages subscribers can expect from each, how do the two really compare? Let’s take a closer look at some of these important points below.
Firstly, we could consider the subscription costs of Alamo Season Pass vs. AMC Stubs A-List. The Alamo Season Pass offers three different location-based price points. Some of its more remote locations will charge $16.99 a month plus tax for a subscription. Others in more populated areas will pay $19.99 a month plus tax. Those in the most populous locations (such as New York or LA) can expect to pay $29.99 a month plus tax. You can also pay for an Extra Seats add-on for an additional $18.99 a month plus tax, which allows you to book two seats instead of one.
AMC Stubs A-List has a more expensive base price but a cheaper top tier in comparison to the Alamo Season Pass. AMC’s movie ticket subscription service starts at $19.95 in more remote locations, jumps up to $22.95 for its more populated locations, and tops out at $24.95 in the most popular cities such as New York or LA. While there’s no option for couples to enjoy a discounted two-seat subscription like you’ll find at Alamo, you can create what’s known as an A-List Entourage. This involves multiple Stubs A-List subscribers creating a group that can make joint reservations.
Secondly, we should take any and all additional fees into account. Alamo Season Passes charge you a convenience fee for every reservation you make. What’s more, there’s another added fee for special presentations such as 3D or large screen formats. Beyond this, your Season Pass cannot be used for certain special films shown at Alamo. The AMC Stubs A-List, on the other hand, does not charge convenience fees for reservations. There’s also no charge for IMAX or 3D films. Despite this, some films still cannot be seen with a Stubs A-List subscription (such as Fathom Events presentations).
Thirdly, let’s go over any and all reservation limits for the Alamo Season Pass vs. AMC Stubs A-List. At Alamo, you are allowed to see one film a day. However, you can only make up to two reservations at one time and can only make them up to a week in advance. Purchasing tickets further ahead than that will cost you full price. At AMC, the story is a little different. Your reservation only gives you three movies a week, but you can make up to three reservations as far in advance as possible. The day tickets go public, you can reserve one with your subscription.
Lastly, there are subscriber rewards to consider. What kind of added benefits are available to subscribers of Alamo Season Pass vs. AMC Stubs A-List? At Alamo, there is a generous rewards program in place, but it’s not exclusive to Season Pass members. Beyond this, there’s no concessions discount for subscribers. At AMC, however, the Stubs A-List rewards are bountiful. You get a 10% discount on concessions, you get a free birthday gift, and you’ll often find yourself earning $5 in rewards points after very few purchases.
The History of the Alamo Season Pass
You could reasonably credit this recent string of movie ticket subscription services to the success of MoviePass back in the late 2010s. First created in 2011 but not truly achieving massive success until a widespread restructuring in 2017, MoviePass let subscribers see as many movies as they wanted to see at a number of theaters regardless of chain for less than $10 a month. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s because it was. The service had imploded by 2019, leaving plenty of disappointed subscribers left with no movie ticket subscription service to lean on.
Enter the Alamo Season Pass. (Among a number of other services, such as AMC Stubs A-List and Regal Unlimited.) Created by Texas-based Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas, the Alamo Season Pass was first introduced in February of 2020. It couldn’t have come at a worse time, considering the Covid-19 pandemic shut down theaters across the globe for a number of months. Thankfully, once audiences were able to return to the movies again, the Alamo Season Pass was waiting. It’s currently available at the dozens of Alamo Drafthouse locations nationwide.
Despite its few drawbacks — such as its added fees and its reservation limits — the Alamo Season Pass has been popular and successful enough to survive the chain’s financial woes throughout 2021. When the theater chain filed for bankruptcy in March of 2021, the Alamo Season Pass remained available as if nothing was wrong. Through some restructuring and other strategic financial decisions, Alamo was able to emerge victorious with the Alamo Season Pass in tow. Today, the Drafthouse continues to open new locations throughout the United States.
How AMC Stubs A-List Compares
Of all the movie theater ticket subscription services, AMC Stubs A-List is undoubtedly the most popular. Boasting over 800,000 members according to the theater chain’s head honchos, the AMC Stubs A-List first appeared as a chain-specific MoviePass competitor way back in June of 2018. As you can see, this was long before Alamo Drafthouse introduced its Alamo Season Pass (and even before Regal unleashed their Regal Unlimited subscription service). It seems AMC’s quick thinking paid off quite well for them: their pass is the most successful of the bunch.
With nearly 950 locations in all, it’s no wonder AMC is able to boast such excellent numbers for their Stubs A-List subscription service. If you divide the number of subscriptions up by the number of locations, it’s less than a thousand members per theater. Still, that’s something. As AMC Stubs A-List enters its fifth year (and as people grow more and more comfortable with returning to the theaters), it’s not totally outlandish to expect their numbers to surpass a million members sooner rather than later.
Another thing that might drive up those numbers? The fact that AMC Stubs A-List members will be impervious to AMC’s new dynamic ticket pricing model. Though the chain is planning to charge more or less per ticket depending on where patrons sit in the auditorium, Stubs A-List members will be able to reserve any seat in the room at no additional charge. (Including the most expensive seating options in the middle.) Even if the subscription increases in price again as it did in 2019, it’ll still be the best deal around.
Alamo Season Pass vs. AMC Stubs A-List: Pros and Cons
|Pros of Alamo Season Pass||Cons of Alamo Season Pass|
|Cheap subscription prices in some locations||Under 50 Alamo locations nationwide|
|Ability to add an extra seat to the subscription||Tickets come with convenience fees|
|Theater chain shows a ton of older movies||3D or big-screen films come at an added cost|
|The company beat the threat of bankruptcy||Reservations can’t be made more than a week ahead|
|Pros of AMC Stubs A-List||Cons of AMC Stubs A-List|
|10% concessions discount||Only 3 tickets a week|
|Free large popcorn and drink combo on birthday||No discount for couples or pairs|
|No convenience fees or additional charges||Higher base price than Alamo Season Pass|
|Can make reservations far in advance||Not as many retro screenings as Alamo|
Alamo Season Pass vs. AMC Stubs A-List: Which Is Best?
So, with all of this taken into consideration, can we confidently say which movie ticket subscription service is the superior choice? Looking at the lack of additional fees, the number of additional benefits, and the sheer number of available locations, it’s clear that AMC Stubs A-List comes out ahead of the Alamo Season Pass. Nevertheless, those who enjoy older movies or want to see more than three movies a week might get more out of the Alamo Season Pass. (Even with those pesky convenience fees.)
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