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Movie theaters are reopening — but what about their subscription plans?

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How AMC, Regal, and others are handling all-access plans

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Movie theaters around the U.S. have gradually been reopening over the past few weeks, as states and cities have begun lifting coronavirus-based restrictions on public gatherings. In many states, major chains such as AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas turned the lights back on in time for Labor Day weekend. Even if customers may be (understandably) reluctant to return to movie theaters during a pandemic that is still very much an ongoing crisis, theater operators are also resuming their all-you-can-watch subscription programs like AMC Stubs A-List and Regal Unlimited so you can catch the new movies that are actually arriving to theaters.

If you were paying a fee for access to unlimited screenings (or something like it) before COVID-19 hit, you may have forgotten all about your subscription program. After all, you probably haven’t set foot in a movie theater since they all shut down nearly six months ago. Before you get surprised by an unfamiliar charge popping up on your credit card, check out the information we’ve compiled below on various companies’ policies for restarting their subscriptions, and will continue to update this story as we learn more about companies’ plans.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema: Alamo Season Pass

Alamo Season Pass logo Image: Alamo Drafthouse

For a $14.99-a-month fee, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema’s subscription program, Alamo Season Pass, allows customers to see one movie every day. The company launched the program on March 11 — the very same day that the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Five days later, Alamo Drafthouse closed all its locations.

When will Alamo Season Pass resume?

When it announced the closure of its theaters, Alamo Drafthouse told Alamo Season Pass customers that it was halting the program and wouldn’t be charging customers during the pause. “Any unused portion of your current subscription period will be applied to your account when service resumes,” the company said at the time. But even as it reopens its theaters, Alamo Drafthouse is keeping the program suspended for now, saying that it expects to resume it “later in 2020.”

How do I restart my Alamo subscription? Will it resume automatically?

When Alamo Season Pass goes live again, the company will email subscribers with “instructions on how to resume their subscription when they’re ready to return,” according to the program’s website. Alamo Drafthouse will not automatically resume existing subscriptions.

Can I cancel my Alamo subscription?

If you want to modify or cancel your Alamo Season Pass subscription, email seasonpass@drafthouse.com.

AMC Theatres: AMC Stubs A-List

AMC Stubs A-List logo Image: AMC Theatres via Polygon

AMC Theaters, the largest movie theater chain in America, closed all its U.S. locations on March 17. The company offers a three-screenings-per-week subscription called AMC Stubs A-List, the highest of the three tiers of its Stubs rewards program. Depending on your location, the monthly price ranges $19.95 to $23.95 (although AMC is currently running a theater-reopening promotion, charging $5 for the first month).

When will AMC Stubs A-List subscriptions resume?

When it shut down its theaters, AMC said it would pause all A-List memberships “for the time that AMC theatres are closed, with no billing or payments occurring.” Now that AMC is reopening its locations, the company is initially giving A-List customers the ability to decide when they’re ready to resume their subscriptions.

However, you have a window in which to make that decision. AMC is currently planning to resume any still-paused subscriptions on Dec. 1.

How do I restart my AMC subscription? Will it resume automatically?

Anybody who feels comfortable returning to theaters can visit their AMC Stubs account and reactivate their membership. It won’t resume automatically until Dec. 1. For more details on AMC’s policies, see the “AMC Stubs - Insider, Premiere, A-List” section of the company’s coronavirus reopening FAQ.

Can I cancel my AMC subscription?

Again, you don’t have to make that call yet — you have until Dec. 1 to figure out your situation. But if you’ve already decided that you don’t want to continue paying a monthly fee to see movies in theaters, you can head to the Manage My Plan section of your My AMC account dashboard.

What about my AMC Stubs Premiere membership?

AMC Stubs Premiere is the middle tier of membership, and the cheapest paid option at $15 a year (although AMC is currently running a theater-reopening promotion, charging $5 for the first year). The company has now extended all Stubs Premiere memberships for eight months to make up for the duration of the closure, and says, “Should anything change, we will continue to extend your membership appropriately.”

Regal Cinemas: Regal Unlimited

Regal Unlimited logo Image: Regal Cinemas

Regal Cinemas, like AMC Theatres, shuttered all its U.S. locations on March 17. Its subscription program, Regal Unlimited, allows customers to see as many movies as they want for a monthly fee ranging from $18 to $23.95 (depending on location). Customers can choose to be billed month to month, or pay upfront for a one-year term.

When will Regal Unlimited subscriptions resume?

They already have, in most cases. Regal started reopening U.S. theaters on Aug. 21, and reactivated all Regal Unlimited subscriptions on that date. The exception to that resumption date was any customer whose home theater — a particular Regal Cinemas location that the user has chosen — did not open as of Aug. 21. For those people, their Regal Unlimited subscription will resume when their home theater reopens.

How do I restart my Regal subscription? Will it resume automatically?

As noted above, Regal is automatically resuming Regal Unlimited subscriptions individually on the date on which each customer’s home theater reopens, starting Aug. 21. However, Regal hasn’t restarted the monthly billing for subscriptions yet — the company is giving all subscribers a free 30-day period at the start of their resumed subscription. That 30-day window begins from the date of your home theater’s reopening, or from the first time you use your membership at a different Regal location that has already opened back up.

During that initial 30-day period, Regal is running a promotion to welcome its customers back: The company is waiving surcharges, which range from $1.50 to $3 for any screening at a theater that is not covered by a customer’s subscription tier.

In essence, Regal is extending all Regal Unlimited memberships by the duration of its theaters’ closure, plus 30 days. For theaters that reopened on Aug. 21, that extension amounts to 187 days (including the free additional 30 days). Note that monthly subscribers will likely have a different due date for their payment now.

Can I cancel my Regal Unlimited subscription?

It appears that Regal Unlimited’s restrictive cancellation policy remains in effect, despite the pandemic. (We’ve reached out to the company for clarification, and will update this article with any information we receive.)

Regal Unlimited subscribers have to sign up with a one-year commitment to start. In other words, under the program’s rules, subscribers cannot cancel during the first year of their membership. After the first year, subscribers can cancel at any time through the Regal mobile app or by contacting Regal’s customer service department via phone at 888-462-7342 or via email at customersupport@regalcinemas.com.