AMC and Regal are the two biggest movie theater chains in the United States. While AMC has nearly twice as many locations, the two are still far and away the most popular of the bunch. It only makes sense, then, that AMC and Regal would have competing movie ticket subscription services. However, this begs the question: Which service should you subscribe to, AMC Stubs A-List vs. Regal Unlimited? Let’s compare and contrast the two below, paying close attention to the ways in which they differ. In the end, we’ll be able to tell you which service you should choose.
AMC Stubs A-List vs. Regal Unlimited: Side-By-Side Comparison
|Feature||AMC Stubs A-List||Regal Unlimited|
|First Introduced||June 2018||July 2019|
|Price Per Month||$19.95-$24.95||$18.99-$23.99|
|Convenience Fee||None||$0.50 per ticket|
|Showings With Additional Fees||Fathom Events and other special event screenings||ScreenX, 4DX, IMAX, RPX, 3D, VIP, Premium Seating|
|Free Birthday Gift||Large Popcorn and Drink Combo||Large Popcorn and Drink Combo|
|Early Access Screenings||Yes||Yes|
|Ticket Limits||3 ticket limit per week||Unlimited|
|Reservation Limits||3 with no blackout dates||3 with no blackout dates|
|Plans for Couples?||No, separate plans required||No, separate plans required|
|Number of Theaters||Around 950||More than 500|
AMC Stubs A-List vs. Regal Unlimited: Key Differences
While the above specifications do a great job outlining the number of ways AMC Stubs A-List vs. Regal Unlimited differ, they don’t do the best job explaining what these differences mean. For this reason, we should spend some time breaking down some of the most pressing key differences between these two movie ticket subscription services. How do the two stack up against one another in terms of subscription pricing? Or additional fees? What about the number of tickets subscribers can have per month? Let’s take a look at these four key differences below.
Price Per Month
Firstly, there’s the total price per month for AMC Stubs A-List vs. Regal Unlimited. How much is each movie ticket subscription service going to cost a hypothetical subscriber per month? AMC Stubs A-List pricing comes in three tiers and starts at $19.95 for 35 of the 50 states in the U.S. However, most will pay $22.95 for the middle tier, which covers 45 states. The top tier costs $24.95 and covers all 50 states. Regal Unlimited, by comparison, costs anywhere from $18.99 to $23.99 for its three regional tiers. All in all, Regal has the lower prices.
Secondly, we should consider the additional fees tied to AMC Stubs A-List vs. Regal Unlimited. This goes hand in hand with the previous discussion of monthly costs. While you could say Regal Unlimited has the cheaper monthly cost, they also charge you convenience fees for each ticket reserved. AMC doesn’t. The only additional fees tied to AMC Stubs A-List are the fees associated with special Fathom Events or other exclusive presentations outside of the new release calendar. This certainly adds some perspective, as it seems AMC has a higher monthly price but fewer additional fees.
Number of Tickets
Thirdly, let’s consider the number of tickets you get as a subscriber to AMC Stubs A-List vs. Regal Unlimited. Stubs A-List gives you three tickets a week and allows you to make up to three reservations at any one time with no blackout dates. Regal Unlimited gives you as many tickets as you want per week, with the only restriction being no overlapping showtimes. Additionally, you can make as many as three reservations at any one time with no blackout dates, either. Regal Unlimited obviously has the edge here, even with those convenience fees.
Number of Locations
Lastly, let’s account for the number of locations per theater chain. No matter how great the movie ticket subscription service may seem, you’re ultimately going to have to abide by whichever one is closer or more accessible to you. With this in mind, AMC has nearly two times the number of locations as Regal. They’re sitting at 950 theaters, while Regal has around 500. Their numbers are closer when you look at the total number of screens across those locations: AMC has 7,850, while Regal has 6,851. AMC is still ahead, but it’s a closer call.
The History of AMC Stubs A-List
At the height of MoviePass’s popularity, AMC Theatres leaped at the opportunity to create a chain-exclusive movie ticket subscription service. With this, AMC Stubs A-List was born. Officially launched in June of 2018, the new subscription service lets subscribers see up to three movies a week — regardless of its format — for a relatively low monthly fee of $19.95. 3D, IMAX, standard… it didn’t matter. All of it was free. This was a significant departure from traditional movie theater pricing, where customers pay around $15-20 per movie.
While AMC Stubs A-List is turning five years old this summer, it’s not to be confused with the decade-old Stubs loyalty program that has been in place at AMC Theatres since 2011. Stubs by themselves still exist and are free to join. Naturally, A-List members continue to earn Stubs points even with their paid subscriptions. (Stubs offers excellent perks such as free popcorn, soda, and movie tickets, frequent $5 rewards bonuses added to users’ accounts, and exclusive early access to tickets for popular movies and other new releases.)
Despite some griping from naysayers concerning monthly costs and the three-film limit, AMC Stubs A-List was an instant hit. In addition to the ability to see three free movies a week in any format, the service also offers perks like reserved seating anywhere in the auditorium, free upgrades on popcorn and soda, and no online ticketing fees. By the end of 2018, the movie ticket subscription service had amassed more than 600,000 subscribers. By 2019, A-List had surpassed 900,000 members and had generated more than $450 million in revenue since its launch.
How Regal Unlimited Differs
The other side of the AMC Stubs A-List vs. Regal Unlimited debate? Regal Cinemas and their movie ticket subscription service. Launched by the popular chain in 2019 — around a year after AMC Stubs A-List went live — Regal Unlimited is structured very similarly to its closest competitor. You pay a monthly fee, they give you free movie tickets. However, Regal Unlimited is true to its name: There’s no limit to the number of movie tickets subscribers get each month. (Forget AMC’s three-film limit, right?) So long as your showtimes don’t overlap, you could do a month-long movie marathon for one low price.
Also like AMC Stubs A-List, Regal Unlimited offers three different subscription plans that vary in price and benefits depending on your region in the United States. The basic plan allows members to see movies at any Regal theater, but higher-tier plans offer additional perks like access to premium formats and discounts on concessions. By 2020, Regal claimed their service had surpassed a million subscribers in total. While this number (and AMC Stubs A-List’s, for that matter) undoubtedly took a hit in the wake of the pandemic, Regal Unlimited is nevertheless a massive success for the chain.
The same criticisms lobbed at AMC Stubs A-List were similarly tossed at Regal Unlimited. Pricing, convenience fees, additional costs for special formats such as IMAX or 3D… regardless, Regal Unlimited is a vital component of Regal’s business model today. The chain’s parent company Cineworld Group is facing financial struggles, and without the revenue from Regal Unlimited, who knows what kind of trouble they’d be in. It remains to be seen whether or not Cineworld will emerge victorious from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, but hopefully Regal Unlimited keeps them on stable footing.
AMC Stubs A-List vs. Regal Unlimited: 5 Must-Know Facts About Movie-Going
- The average ticket price doubled between 1995 and 2021, rising from $4.50 to $9. Movie ticket subscription services offer a nice relief for people who find the cost of movie-going has gotten too expensive. Most of these subscription services pay for themselves after just two or three movies a month.
- AMC Stubs A-List vs. Regal Unlimited are not the only two movie ticket subscription services around. Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas offers Alamo Season Pass, Cinemark has their Movie Club, Showcase Cinemas has their Subscribe Movie Membership, Megaplex has the Megapass, and even MoviePass has made a comeback in recent months.
- Despite the rising cost of movie theater tickets, many people are still willing to pay for the experience of seeing a movie on the big screen. In 2019, the global box office revenue reached a record high of $42.5 billion, indicating that there is still a strong demand for movies in theaters. This number plummeted in 2020 as a result of the pandemic but is on the rise again.
- The success of AMC Stubs A-List vs. Regal Unlimited proves that streaming services and other global factors are not going to result in the death of movie theaters. In fact, according to a 2021 survey, nearly 70% of Gen Z and Millennials alike have said they plan to continue to see movies in theaters as much as they did before the pandemic.
- In response to changing market trends, movie theaters like AMC and Regal have been experimenting with new technologies and services to attract audiences. Many have started offering luxury amenities such as recliner seats, gourmet food, and alcohol. Others have partnered with streaming services to show exclusive films and programs in theaters.
AMC Stubs A-List vs. Regal Unlimited: Pros and Cons
|Pros of AMC Stubs A-List||Cons of AMC Stubs A-List|
|10% discount on concessions||You only get three tickets each week|
|Free size upgrades on popcorn and soda||No plans available for two people|
|No fees for booking tickets or IMAX or 3D||More expensive than Regal Unlimited|
|The most theaters nationwide of any chain||Advance ticket purchases max out at three|
|Pros of Regal Unlimited||Cons of Regal Unlimited|
|More affordable base price than Stubs A-List||Regal parent company is bankrupt|
|Unlimited tickets||Additional fees for special formats|
|Second biggest theater chain in the U.S.||Not as many locations as AMC|
|Standard convenience fee is reduced||No plans for couples or pairs|
AMC Stubs A-List vs. Regal Unlimited: Which Is Best?
So, are we able to declare a winner yet? Between AMC Stubs A-List vs. Regal Unlimited, which movie ticket subscription service is best? Truthfully, it’s an incredibly close call. Both have a number of major advantages in their favor, but each one has a number of disadvantages on top of that. In the end, the winner has to be AMC Stubs A-List. With no convenience fees and no additional charges for IMAX or 3D, AMC deserves to take the cake. Sure, you only get three movie tickets a week, but that’s more than enough for a vast majority of moviegoers.