Regal Cinemas, with one Utah theater, joins the battle of movie subscription plans

(Rick Egan | Tribune file photo) The Regal Crossroads 14 in Taylorsville, at its opening in March 2017. The Regal Cinemas chain announced on July 29, 2019, that it is the latest theater exhibition company to offer a subscription service for moviegoers.

Regal Cinemas, the nation’s second largest theater chain with a single, 14-screen Utah location in Taylorsville, is jumping into the subscription-service business with a plan for moviegoers suffering through the summer without their MoviePass.

The Regal Unlimited plan will offer moviegoers tickets to as many standard-format movies as they want, for $18 a month at 200 Regal locations, including the Regal Crossroads & RPX at 5516 S. Redwood Road in Taylorsville.

The plan has no blackout dates, and tickets can be purchased in advance as soon as they go on sale. Special formats, like 3D and VIP seating, will be available for the usual upcharge.

Other plans, for $21 or $23.50 a month, cover wider swaths of the Regal chain, which includes 549 locations in 42 states, the District of Columbia and Guam.

In a statement, Ken Thewes, Regal’s chief marketing officer, touted Regal Unlimited as “the only cinema subscription plan that offers the ability to watch as many movies as you want, whenever you want.”

The plans also offer a 10% discount on concessions, a free large popcorn and large drink on the subscriber’s birthday, and reduced online fees. Those who sign up will also be registered in the Regal Crown Club, the chain’s loyalty rewards program.

(Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

Regal’s offerings will be competition to the AMC Theatres and Cinemark chains, which also have subscription services. AMC is the nation’s largest theater chain, and has locations in Layton, West Jordan and Provo; Cinemark, the nation’s No. 3 chain, has 15 locations along the Wasatch Front.

The Utah-based Megaplex Theatres, which has 15 locations in Utah and one in Mesquite, Nev., launched its MegaPass service in May. The nonprofit Salt Lake Film Society, which operates the Broadway Centre Cinemas and Tower Theatre, offers a subscription-based donation plan that ranges from $5 a month to $5,000 a year, with increasing benefits at each level.

Regal’s deal will further complicate life for MoviePass, which launched the subscription model in 2017 with a $9.95-a-month unlimited plan. MoviePass has struggled financially since then, frequently changing its fees and offerings to stave off bankruptcy. MoviePass suspended its service on July 4, and its website promises that it “has been working hard to improve our groundbreaking subscription services.”