AMC Theatres has announced another extension for subscribers of its Stubs A-List membership who are mulling over when to reactivate. Now, existing members of the MoviePass-style plan can wait until July to decide whether they’d like their plan to resume or whether they’ll cancel instead.
Previously, AMC said in November it would give subscribers a deadline of March 1st to reactivate or cancel their membership. Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, AMC Theatres has allowed its A-List members to keep their plans but pause payments due to widespread theater closures and a severely constricted pipeline of new Hollywood releases.
AMC launched A-List in 2018, following MoviePass’ meteoric rise and prior to its disastrous crash. The service, an extension of the AMC Stubs rewards program that lets customers pay around $20 per month (although more in markets like California and New York) to see three movies per week, quickly became a huge boon to AMC’s business, amassing 800,000 subscribers in its first year. Yet A-List, like the theater business at large, has been hit hard by COVID-19.
It looks like AMC is now signaling that the new release schedule won’t be improving at the very least until this summer. The company would likely much rather keep people signed up with the prospect of becoming paying customers again in the future rather than risk letting a once-paying subscriber cancel altogether.
“We understand that it still may be less than ideal to reactivate your membership at this time. Since there is not a steady stream of new releases, we have once again extended the pause on your A‑List account for four additional months, until July 1, 2021,” AMC wrote in an email to existing A-List subscribers. “We anticipate a robust movie calendar by summer, so all A‑List memberships that remain in a paused state are planned to be automatically reactivated on July 1, 2021.”
With vaccinations on the rise and various states in the US slowly reopening, there is a strong possibility that AMC’s prediction of a robust summer theater schedule pans out and brings in waves of new attendance. And Collider’s up-to-date 2021 release calendar does show some promising midyear releases on the horizon, like Marvel’s Black Widow (May 7th) and Top Gun: Maverick (July 2nd).
However, some of the most high-profile releases of last year that were delayed due to COVID-19 are still not scheduled until the second half of 2021, including Denis Villeneuve’s Dune adaptation (October 1st), the newest Bond entry No Time to Die (October 18th), and Matrix 4 (December 22nd). There’s also no telling whether the pace of COVID-19 vaccination will make it largely safe to resume indoor activities come this May.
AMC last month staved off bankruptcy by raising nearly $1 billion in new funding since December of last year, just shortly before the company’s shares received a temporary boost thanks to the hordes of Reddit retail investors promoting GameStop and similar stocks. That means AMC should be on more solid ground until at least the summer months, when the company expects Hollywood releases and theater attendance to turn the corner.