AMC (AMC) Theatres, the largest movie theater chain in the world, is getting into streaming.
The company is launching AMC Theatres On Demand, a digital movie service that will allow members of its Stubs loyalty program the chance to rent or buy from 2,000 films produced by major Hollywood studios like Disney (DIS) and Universal.
Members will be able to download new films once they’ve completed a run in theaters, and will have access to a library of older films, AMC announced Tuesday. Films will cost roughly between $3 and $5.99 to rent and $9.99 to $19.99 to buy. Much like Amazon (AMZN)’s Prime Video or Apple (AAPL)’s iTunes Store, AMC Theatres On Demand will allow its users to buy and rent films via its website and SmartTV and mobile apps. More than 20 million households are subscribed to AMC’s Stubs program, according to the company.
AMC’s new service comes at a time when the theater industry finds itself at odds with streaming companies. Netflix (NFLX) has made a habit of skirting the theater’s traditional 90-day release window before making its films available to stream at home.
Just recently, Netflix announced that Martin Scorsese’s gangster film, “The Irishman,” which stars Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, would skip a wide theatrical run. The film will instead hit independent theaters on November 1 and then Netflix a few weeks later on November 27.
The issue really boils down to money. Services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video want to keep its subscribers satisfied with exclusive original content. Movie theaters like AMC rely on making money from foot traffic to the box office and from concession sales.
AMC Theatres On Demand allows the company to split the difference. AMC is able to promote its product and its popular loyalty program to consumers who use streaming while not giving up on its long-standing, traditional business of getting audiences in seats.
“Through the launch of AMC Theatres On Demand, we can reach movie lovers directly and make it easy for them to access films digitally,” Adam Aron, CEO of AMC Theatres, said in a statement.
AMC Theatres also has a subscription-based ticket service called AMC Stubs A-List, which allows subscribers to see up to three movies per week for $19.95 to $24.95. The service was created as a competitor of another subscription ticket service, MoviePass, which was shut down last month.