Cinemark offers loyalty program for silver screen fans

Cinemark announced its latest idea on how to bring people back to the theater.

Just in time for the holidays, Cinemark/Rave theaters has a gift for film lovers: a paid monthly membership program featuring a special price for movie tickets and a 20 percent discount on concession purchases.

The plan also has perks that MoviePass doesn't: Unused movie tickets roll over and never expire, and seating can be reserved and bought in advance with no additional fees.

In fact, it's having enough of an impact that Plano-based Cinemark, which operates more than 500 theaters across the country, has launched its own competing service. CEO Mark Zoradi told CNN Money the new pricing structure was aimed at "millennials" and its market research had found the most desired trait in a subscription service was the option to stockpile tickets.

With Cinemark if you pay $8.99 a month you can get 1 free movie ticket and 20% discount on food and drinks.

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Zoradi said the company's been looking into a subscription service since the beginning of the year.

While some chains, like AMC, have criticized MoviePass for teaching consumers to under-value their product, others-including Cinemark, which will continue to accept MoviePass-see empty seats as a bigger threat to their model than a discounted ticket price for subscribers.

When a startup tried to turn the process of going to the movies into a $9.95-a-month membership program earlier this year, it raised plenty of eyebrows. Back in August, Movie Pass first made headlines for allowing people to see a movie per day for $9.95 a month, which is about the price of a Netflix subscription, according to the Deseret News. MoviePass has attempted to crack that code with mixed results and now Cinemark is attempting their own brand of monthly offering.

But now an actual movie theater chain is responding with a similar plan.

Cinemark customers can also upgrade their tickets to 3D, while MoviePass customers are stuck with 2D movies.

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