5.12.2010

Say Goodbye to the 5 Buck Club and Hello to Higher Prices!

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Ever since I moved back to the my hometown and quit my job at the movie theater down near school (~30 miles from my hometown) nearly 2 years ago, hubby and I have been taking full advantage of the 5 Buck Club that our nearby Kerasotes theaters has.

What is the 5 Buck Club?

Usually after a movie has been out for 2-3 weeks (although sometimes longer during holiday and summer movie seasons) the film goes on the 5 Buck Club where if you are a member you present your 5 Buck Club card and only pay $5 to see the film instead of the full $9+, which isn't a bad deal if you don't mind waiting a few weeks to see the hot new movie! Anyone can join the 5 Buck Club and it's completely free - you just sign up online and in roughly 2-3 weeks you will receive your card in the mail. Hubby and I each have 2, in case we double date with friends or go out with visiting guests who don't have cards. Every week (either late Wednesday or early Thursday) you'll receive an email with a list of what movies for the following week are on the 5 Buck Club so you can plan your weekend, or if you for whatever reason you throw out the email or don't get it you can just go online to their website, enter in your email and view the list.

Granted, I prefer seeing the movies for free or screening them in advance, but since I no longer work at a theater, this has been our cheap alternative to seeing movies in the theater.

Well today I got an email from the 5 Buck Club, informing me of AMC buying out Kerasotes.

Dear Five Buck Club Member,

Many of you already know that we are in the process of being sold to American Multi-Cinema (AMC).

We expect AMC to take over our theatres sometime between late May and early June.

AMC wishes to conduct a consumer survey on your preferences as to discount programs.  Your cooperation with this would be appreciated.  The information they get from you will help AMC decide what to do in the future.

Please Click Here to take the Survey**

But remember:  YOUR FIVE BUCK CLUB CARD WILL BE GOOD UNLESS OR UNTIL AMC INFORMS YOU OTHERWISE .

Thank you for your patronage.

Sincerely,

Tony Kerasotes


I have a feeling though this won't last long though and would be surprised if it did, primarily since AMC has programs of their own and keeping the 5 Buck Club (which is a better deal) wouldn't be in their best interest financially.

For example, AMC has Weekday Escape, where at SOME theaters they offer some movies at discounted prices during the weekdays... you know, when people are at work, or kids are in school, so you could take see Iron Man 2 discounted the first week it's out. I guess this could be nice in the summer for moms to take their kids, but that doesn't really help the rest of us. The 5 Buck Club has always been valid all week and for all showtimes of a movie that's on the 5 Buck Club that week. There's also no guarantee that either of our 2 theaters here are even going to be part of this program, as they only offer it at SOME theaters.

AMC also has their MovieWatcher Rewards club, where you earn 2 points for visit (but a maximum of 4 per visit, so this kind of screws over families) to earn free concessions and tickets - you need at least 30 points to get 1 movie ticket (so basically 15 visits and $135 later since 30/2 = 15 x$9).

This wouldn't be quite so annoying if they offered something similar, and while Weekday Escape is close, there's a lot of people who use 5 Buck Club on the weekends because they work during the time frame Weekday Escape is set for.

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Also, AMC ticket prices have always been higher than most other movie chains I've visited, yet only a few of their projectors are digital (unless this has changed recently). I remember when the Carmike theater I worked for in college went digital - Christie and DLP were offering around to some of the major theater chains to install digital projectors for free, so long as they signed into a contract. How could you pass that up? Carmike didn't and started making all their projectors digital, but for some strange reason AMC didn't and opted to only make the projectors in their biggest theaters digital. So basically, with AMC, if you miss the film the first week or 2 while it's in the big theaters you get stuck watching it in stratchy 35mm yet you're paying the same price.

Kerasotes has never gone full digital either - the 2 theaters here (both Kerasotes) only have a digital pre-show while they still play the movies in 35mm (and they take horrible care of them too as every movie I see has horrendous scratches in them - if that happened that often at Carmike we wouldn't have a projection staff as they'd all be fired for not doing their jobs and letting the film get that way! I only recall 3 35mm films the entire time I worked there having scratches as bad as the ones I see all the time at Kerasotes!).

Call me a movie theater snob, but I never understood why Kerasotes and AMC both charged more than Carmike when Carmike offered a better quality product (full digital projection). True, Kerasotes is only a few quarters more and their concession prices are cheaper than Carmike, but not with AMC - not only are they a few dollars more for a ticket but their concession prices are crazy too! Just to see an afternoon showing of Alice in 3D with the hubby we spent probably $50 at the AMC theater. Sure, we saw the IMAX 3D version in one of their few digital theaters, so that was $15 a ticket instead of the normal matinee price, but still - we got a large drink and popcorn and spent almost $15 - last I checked, at Kerasotes' those items together cost under $10.

So I guess here's to paying full higher prices to go see movies in 35mm! Yay!

I think I'd rather spend the gas to drive the 30miles to the Carmike theater down by school. We have several empty theaters in this town, I've been hoping for awhile Carmike would come in and take over them, give Kerasotes some competition up here, but now with AMC taking over, I *really* hope they do it - I'd try to be first in line to apply for management.

**I went to take the survey, but by 5pm it stated they had an overwhelming response and already met their quotas (the time stamp on the email said 12:54pm, but it wasn't in my box when I checked at 2...)

3 comments:

  1. Popcorn is bad for you! :P

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  2. lol I think Alice is the first time I ate any in awhile and haven't had any since - the few times we do get it Josh usually eats most of it =D

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  3. AMC MovieWatcher is whack. See a few movies, and then get $1 off popcorn? Get outta here, AMC.

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What's your thoughts?