AMC's Stubs A-List is what MoviePass could've been

Commentary: Less than a month on the A-List and I'm smitten.

Rebecca Fleenor Former Project Manager
Rebecca Fleenor was an editorial project manager. She enjoys all things wacky, techie and entertaining, and she's usually off binge-watching films and television shows (and writing them in her spare time).
Rebecca Fleenor
4 min read

I'm an avid moviegoer. I enjoy sitting with my giant bag of sour gummies and using my film degree to break down the "mise-en-scène" of whatever giant robot movie I'm watching.

Despite the frequency with which I go to the theaters, I never bothered with MoviePass. I badly wanted a movie ticket subscription service, but MoviePass seemed like a huge hassle to use. I was also too skeptical about how long the service would last (despite how some die-hard colleagues are sticking with the platform).

Then AMC announced its Stubs A-List, and my interest was piqued. Sure, it was twice the price of MoviePass ($20 a month versus MoviePass at $10 a month). But what good is a half-price bicycle if it doesn't come with wheels?

So I finally threw my hat into the ring. And after three weeks using A-List, I'm already in love. Here's why.

A straightforward subscription plan that includes *almost* everything

AMC Stubs A-List lets you see up to three movies a week, which is typically 12 films a month. There are no restrictions on when or which day you can see the film. You can see a movie the weekend it opens, because Tom Cruise running waits for no man.

And you're not limited to just regular 2D screenings. AMC's plan lets you see 3D, Imax and Dolby screenings. (Special items like Fathom events, fan events, movie marathons and certain foreign films are excluded from your subscription.)

A moviegoing week runs from Friday through Thursday. You can even book reservations out more than that if tickets are available for a movie, but note that you can only hold up to three total reservations at one time. Compared with competitors like MoviePass, which now excludes Imax and blockbusters on opening weekend (or maybe ever?), AMC is a breath of fresh air.

You don't have to return to yesteryear to use the service

I cannot remember a time in the last few years that I have walked up to a cashier and purchased a movie ticket from an actual human being. It's 2018 and I buy tickets in advance, usually on my phone.

MoviePass required you to use a special MoviePass debit card to purchase your movie ticket from a cashier. Really? You know when you go to a store, sign up for a loyalty program and they hand you a tiny rewards card to attach to your keychain like we're living in pre-2000 times? No one needs more junk for their wallet or keychain.

AMC has a well-designed app that lets you book your reservations in advance, and then you show up to the theater and scan your ticket. Like I've been doing for years anyway.


AMC's app is simple and easy to use.

Screenshot by Rebecca Fleenor/CNET

The app is really, really easy to use

Speaking of the AMC app and website, they are both ridiculously easy to use. You book your ticket, and if you have reservations still available, AMC's website or app will automatically count your ticket as a reservation and zero out the cost. There's no extra step or "debit card" entry (or talking to a human) required. You'll be sent an email confirmation for each ticket, and your upcoming reservations are easy to locate in the app.

Early on, I came down with a minor plague and had to cancel my reservation to see the fantastic documentary Three Identical Strangers. I optimistically rebooked for the following day, but wasn't any better. Needless to say, it was easy as cake to cancel all three reservations I had made that week. And I (eventually) got see the movie.

Guaranteed price for a year

I know folks are nervous that the price may go up for the service, but AMC is guaranteeing its $20 a month price for an entire year when you sign up. And they aren't locking you into a year of service, there's only a three-month minimum when you sign up. Oh, and no online "convenience" fees, which are up there as possibly the single thing online shoppers hate more than anything else in the world.

AMC Rewards Program

AMC has had a loyalty program for a long time, and it's quite straightforward: the more you spend, the more points you earn. Points will get you a variety of discounts on things like tickets and concessions. (Mmm, free popcorn.) When you join or renew, your subscription fee counts toward your rewards.

A great value for big city dwellers

I live in San Francisco, the most expensive city to ever exist, so 95 percent of my income goes to rent. In San Francisco, it costs $22 plus "convenience" fees to see an evening non-3D Imax showing at my closest AMC. Yes, you read that correctly. It costs me more money to see a single Imax film than my entire AMC Stubs A-List monthly subscription (which would allow me to see up to 12 Imax films a month).

If you live in a location with expensive ticket prices, you only need to see one or two films a month to get your money's worth.

Bottom line: If you live near an AMC this service is absolutely worth it, and I apologize to all of you who do not live near an AMC. 

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