AMC Theatres first U.S. movie theater chain to launch digital video service

AMC Theatres is also entering a cross-platform marketing agreement with AMC Networks. (AMC Theatres)

AMC Theatres is breaking new ground for U.S. movie theater chains with the launch of AMC Theatres on Demand, a service that allows users to rent or buy digital films.

Beginning today, members of AMC Stubs, the company’s MoviePass-like program, can rent or buy approximately 2,000 digital movies from Hollywood studios at as well as on the AMC Theatres mobile, Roku devices and some smart TV applications. AMC Theatres on Demand said it has set deals with all major studios including Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, Sony, Paramount and Lionsgate for new releases and catalog titles. AMC Theaters on Demand said Stubs members who use their first transaction to buy or rent a movie distributed by Lionsgate or Paramount Pictures can choose an additional three movies from a selection of that studio’s films.

“The addition of AMC Theatres On Demand, which extends our movie offerings for AMC Stubs members into their homes, makes perfect sense for AMC Theatres, for our studio partners and for our millions of movie-loving guests,” said Adam Aron, CEO and president of AMC Theatres, in a statement. “With more than 20 million AMC Stubs households, and with our web site and smartphone apps already being visited hundreds of millions of times annually by movie fans, AMC Theatres is in a unique position to promote specific movies with greater personalization than has ever been possible before. Through the launch of AMC Theatres On Demand, we can reach movie lovers directly and make it easy for them to access films digitally.”

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AMC Theatres is also entering a cross-platform marketing agreement with AMC Networks. AMC Stubs members will be able to find movies from AMC Networks’ IFC Films and RLJE Films catalogs on the AMC Theatres On Demand platform beginning in late 2019. AMC Theatres will also promote AMC Networks’ streaming services Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now and UMC directly to moviegoers.

“This is a great opportunity for us to both make our film titles available to movie customers and also increase awareness of our growing streaming services, which are all focused on specific genres and content categories fans are passionate about,” said Ed Carroll, chief operating officer of AMC Networks, in a statement. “If you are a fan of horror, or British drama, that interest translates to the television screen, the movie theatre, the phone or anywhere anyone can consume content today. We look forward to working with AMC Theatres to make their new in-home movie service even more appealing to fans through access to our film libraries and also raise awareness of our hyper-focused streaming services among their millions of customers.”

AMC Theatres getting into online video could mark the beginning of a shift for U.S. theater chains. Traditionally, the windowing process for film releases means that they don’t show up on digital platforms until approximately 90 days after their theatrical releases. But AMC Theatres may look into ways to adjust that window and pricing on its streaming platform if demand from consumers for earlier digital releases is apparent.