AMC Theaters, the largest movie theater chain in the U.S., is launching an on-demand video service, The New York Times reported on Tuesday (Oct. 15).
The service will let customers rent or buy movies, much in the same way Apple’s iTunes Store and Amazon’s Prime Video have operated for years.
Rental fees for consumers are expected to be $3 to $5.99. Movie purchases will cost $9.99 to $19.99.
Top movie studios — Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, Sony and Paramount — have already made deals with AMC for catalog and new-release movies.
“For us, it’s all upside,” Ron Sanders, president of worldwide distribution and home entertainment at Warner, told the NYT. “Most of our other big digital partners are focused on multiple categories — music, books. The great thing about AMC is that movies are the whole focus.”
Movie theaters have been struggling for years. AMC, like other chains, has had to raise prices and add more features, like upgraded food choices with alcohol, waitress service, reclining seats.
“Our theater business is mature,” Adam Aron, AMC’s president and chief executive, told the paper. “There is a high-growth opportunity in this digital expansion.”
Aron also added that AMC Theaters On Demand had been in the works for more than two years. It was almost ready to roll out in the summer, “but held off to fine-tune the technology and online store design,” Aron said to the NYT.
AMC operates approximately 1,000 theaters and 11,000 screens worldwide, with 659 locations in the U.S. It is headquartered in the metropolitan Kansas City area, where it has been since its founding in 1920, and is partly owned by China’s Dalian Wanda Group.
In late 2016, AMC acquired ODEON Cinemas Group in Europe and Carmike Cinemas in the U.S. In 2017, the theater chain added Nordic Cinema, the largest cinema chain in the Nordic and Baltic regions.