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story.lead_photo.caption Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/JOHN SYKES JR. - The renovated lobby of the AMC movie theater in west Little Rock.

NEW YORK — AMC Theatres, the world's largest movie theater chain, has unveiled a $20-a-month subscription service to rival the flagging MoviePass.

The theater chain on Wednesday announced a new service to its loyalty program, AMC Stubs, allowing subscribers to see up to three movies a week for a monthly fee of $19.95. That's more expensive than the $9.95 monthly fee for MoviePass, but AMC's plan gives access to premium format screenings like IMAX and 3-D.

The new subscription model is the latest salvo — and first major one from a top theater chain — in a heated battle for what the movie business most craves: frequent moviegoers.

AMC has theaters in Batesville, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Harrison, Hot Springs and west Little Rock.

AMC Theatres chief executive Adam Aron pointedly said in a statement that AMC's program is at a "sustainable price." Since MoviePass slashed its monthly fee, questions have mounted over the long-term viability of its economic model.

MoviePass has attracted 3 million members, but the stock price of the service's parent company, Helios and Matheson, has dropped from $38 a share to 44 cents a share. MoviePass pays for full-priced tickets and sells them at a discounted rate in order to capitalize on user data.

AMC Stubs A-List membership plan, which also features concessions discounts, will debut Tuesday. Unlike MoviePass, subscribers will be allowed to see all three movies on the same day, and can watch the same movie repeatedly. Movies won't carry over if a subscriber sees fewer than three films in a week.

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