Utah’s Megaplex Theatres is joining the subscription-service game to attract moviegoers to the multiplex.
The theater chain, which operates 176 screens at 15 first-run locations across Utah and in Mesquite, Nev., announced Tuesday that it is introducing MegaPass, a subscription that offers members two movie tickets for $14.95 a month.
With regular weekend evening tickets going for around $10, depending on time and location, the new service could shave $5 off the cost of a movie date night.
The new service would also offer access to premium screening offerings, like IMAX, D-Box, laser projection, luxury seats and Dolby Atmos sound systems. It also offers a $1 discount for up to six “plus one” tickets per order, a 15% discount on concessions, and a waiver on convenience fees for online ticket sales through the Atom Tickets app.
Also, unlike the popular MoviePass subscription service, under the MegaPass plan moviegoers can go back to see the same movie more than once.
“We designed MegaPass with movie fans in mind,” said Blake Andersen, president of Megaplex Theatres, which was founded in 1999 by the late car dealer and Utah Jazz owner Larry H. Miller.
The one Megaplex location not covered under the MegaPass plan is the chain’s six-screen Main Street Theatre in St. George, which plays second-run movies at a discount.
The service is the first partnership Atom Tickets, a national online ticket platform, has made with a theater chain. Matthew Bakal, Atom’s chairman and co-founder, said in a statement that the partnership “will ultimately enhance the relationship between moviegoers and their favorite local theater.”
At an industry event in Las Vegas last month, John Fithian, president/CEO of the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO), credited theater chains’ loyalty programs as one factor in higher box office figures in 2018 compared to 2017.
“We have only scratched the surface of how these programs can impact our business,” Fithian said.
In the United States and Canada, 1.301 billion admissions were sold at movie theaters in 2018, according to NATO data. That’s up from 1.236 billion in 2017, a slump attributed by some in the industry to the stay-at-home appeal of Netflix and other streaming services.
The MegaPass plan mirrors the $14.95 monthly rate charged by MoviePass, which in March started offering movie tickets without a limit — though MoviePass reserves the right to cut off the service “due to excessive individual usage which negatively impacts system-wide capacity.”
The wide popularity of MoviePass in 2017, when it offered nearly unlimited tickets for $9.95 a month, nearly proved to be the service’s undoing. In the last year, MoviePass has put limits on how many and what kind of movies would be eligible for the service.
Since MoviePass’ surge in 2017, major chains have added their own subscription services. Texas-based Cinemark, which has 15 locations between Ogden and Spanish Fork, has its Movie Club, which for $9.95 a month offers one theater ticket and a 20% discount on concessions. AMC Theatres, which is owned by the Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group and has three locations on the Wasatch Front, offers AMC Stubs A-List, which provides three movies a week for a $19.95 monthly charge.
Locally, the nonprofit Salt Lake Film Society, which operates the Tower Theatre and Broadway Centre Cinemas art-house venues, has its Red Carpet Club. It offers different membership levels, from $5 a month to $5,000 a year, with perks ranging from video rentals at the Tower to private screenings.