GettyImages-182677992.jpg
MediaProduction / Getty

Regal Cinemas has announced "Regal Unlimited," a movie subscription service that, for between $18 and $24 a month, will allow moviegoers to see "as many movies as you want, as many times as you want, whenever you want, wherever you want," along with offering a few additional perks.

Sponsored
The Portland Committee on Community-Engaged Policing (PCCEP) is seeking new applicants!
We create recommendations to improve police practices. Seeking Black, Indigenous, LGBTQIA+, and those living with mental illness and/or houselessness.

The move follows the protracted demise of the popular subscription service MoviePass—and the resultant scramble by corporate theater chains to figure out a pricing method that can compete with streaming services.

Portland has a few of those big chains: There's AMC (which just bought up Portland's Cinetopia locations, and offers the "AMC Stubs A-List" service) and Cinemark (which owns the Century 16 Eastport Plaza, Century Cedar Hills Crossing, and Century Clackamas Town Center theaters, and sells the "Cinemark Movie Club").

But the 800-pound gorilla in Oregon is Regal Cinemas, the Knoxville-based subsidiary of Cineworld, the massive, international theater chain. Regal has 16 theaters spread across the Portland area, from Regal Lloyd Center & IMAX to Regal Fox Tower 10 to Regal Division Street. If you're seeing a mainstream movie in or around Portland, there's a pretty good chance you're seeing it at a Regal—though, with Portland's once-cheap second-run theaters all but converted to first-run theaters, there are plenty of excellent, independent, locally owned theaters where Portlanders can see new movies.

Despite its name, Regal Unlimited isn't... uh... unlimited—at least depending on where you live and how much you want to pay.


RELATED: "Lloyd Cinemas to Be Replaced by 1,300-Unit Mixed-Use Development" [Feb 28, 2018]

Some subscribers will get away with paying $18 a month for "unlimited standard format movies at more than 200 select Regal theatres nationwide," but in order to see movies using Regal Unlimited at any of Portland's Regal locations, Oregon subscribers will need to pay $21 a month for Regal Unlimited Plus, which adds another 400 theaters to the list of participating locations. Washingtonians will be in the same boat, with all of Washington's Regal theaters requiring the $21 a month plan. More details on the plan are here, and a list of Regal theaters, and the tiers they belong to, is here.

Yeah, all of this is a bit more complicated than MoviePass was, but it still seems simpler than either the AMC or Cinemark plans. Regardless, it's a definite discount for moviegoers who go to Regals multiple times a month: The price for a single ticket for a standard-format movie at Regal Lloyd Center & IMAX, for example, currently ranges from $10-12.50, so even Regal Unlimited subscribers who use the service just twice a month will basically break even.

Support The Portland Mercury


RELATED: "Where Portlanders Can See Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood on 35mm (Updated)" [July 22, 2019]

The small print: Regal notes that "a surcharge of $1.50-$3 per ticket applies at theatres not included in your plan," and that "surcharges apply" for screenings of movies in premium formats like IMAX and 3-D. Subscribers have to sign up all at once for "an initial, non-cancelable term of one year" (!!). And annoyingly, Regal's also gonna charge 50 cents for getting tickets online, which is... how just about everybody's going to use this, right? That'll add up, depending on how often one uses the subscription.

While none of the chains' subscription plans are anywhere close to the (insane, unsustainable) deal that MoviePass offered—before that third-party service started coming apart at the seams, it gave subscribers one movie ticket per day at nearly any theater for $10 a month—it still puts movie tickets much closer in price to streaming services, and much closer in line with what most people are comfortable paying in today's content-flooded entertainment ecosystem. As to how successful these plans will be in the long term—and if, like third-party subscription services, they'll see changes in prices and plans—we'll have to wait and see.