Called AMC Theaters on Demand, the online store launches today with around 2,000 films in its catalog, with new releases being added after their standard theatrical run.
Movie studios including Disney, Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures, and Paramount have agreed deals with the theater chain to sell and rent movies both old and new over the video-on-demand service. Each film can be rented for between $3 and $5.99, and purchased for between $9.99 and $19.99.
The program resembles one that Cineplex in Canada has offered for some time, but AMC is the first major American chain to offer a similar service.
According to The New York Times, the new service aims to capitalize on AMC Stubs, the chain's fast-growing customer loyalty program that launched last year and already covers more than 20 million households. Taking up the market left behind by the now-defunct MoviePass, AMC Stubs A-List members can see up to three movies a week for one monthly price.
AMC Stubs members bought about six million tickets to "The Lion King" over the summer. When "The Lion King" becomes available digitally on Tuesday, "those people will all get a personalized message from AMC saying that they can now enjoy it at home through AMC Theaters On Demand," said Elizabeth Frank, AMC's chief content officer.AMC is said to have been working on the video-on-demand service for more than two years and was close to introducing AMC Theaters On Demand this summer, but delayed the launch while it fine-tuned the technology and online store design.