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I pay $30 a month for a ‘season pass’ to a dine-in theater chain that is strict about not talking and texting, because I can’t stand the experience at normal theaters anymore

Alamo Drafthouse NYC 4547Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is strict about text during movies.

Sarah Jacobs

  • I regularly go to Alamo Drafthouse Theater because it’s strict about people not talking or texting.
  • I subscribe to its Alamo Season Pass, a subscription that lets you see a movie a day for $30 a month.
  • It’s worth it if you live near an Alamo location and are a frequent moviegoer.

I love movies and seeing them in movie theaters — but it can be a frustrating experience.

People talking or checking phones during movies is always a fear of mine. I’m that guy who tells people to be quiet, and while I’m not typically shy about it, that doesn’t mean I enjoy doing it.

Anecdotally, the rise of TikTok in recent years has added an even more annoying disturbance. While scrolling through the app, I regularly see videos from inside theaters, pointed at the screen.

But the theater industry can’t risk alienating loyal customers like me. The box office is struggling to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels: The US box office hit $7.5 billion in 2022, according to Comscore, still down from the $11 billion it was at in the years before the pandemic.

While the prospect of unruly moviegoers is always daunting, I still find seeing movie in a theater is better than watching it at home.

That’s where Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, my favorite theater chain, comes in. I’m fortunate enough to live close to a location, which specializes in a dine-in experience where you order food from your seat. And, more importantly, the chain is strict about guests talking and texting during the movie.

Season Pass Alamo DrafthouseThe Alamo Season Pass lets me see one movie a day for $30 per month.

Alamo Drafthouse

I subscribe to its Alamo Season Pass, a membership that lets me see one movie a day for $30 a month. Even if I see just two movies in a month, the pass pays for itself as tickets are typically more than $15 at the downtown Brooklyn location I frequent.

At Alamo, you put a card up at your table to order food and press a button that alerts your server. You can also use the card to complain about any guests who are talking or have their phones out, as a message before each screening reminds customers that they can be asked to leave after one warning.

For what it’s worth, I’ve never seen anyone get kicked out — though I have seen an employee ask a parent to put his kid’s iPad away during “Black Adam.”

Alamo Drafthouse isn’t the only theater chain to have a membership program; the biggest chains, from AMC to Regal, each have one. They really took off after the implosion of MoviePass a couple years ago, which charged only $10 a month for a movie a day and collapsed when it became unsustainable. (The company recently relaunched under new management as a beta but is only available in a few cities so far). 

alamo drafthouse menuAlamo Drafthouse’s food and beverage menu is under each table, along with a light that shines down so you can see it in the dark.

Travis Clark

I used MoviePass quite a bit, but it shut down in September 2019. Six months later, the coronavirus pandemic closed down movie theaters across the US (and the rest of the world), so I wasn’t seeing movies in theaters for some time.

But when movies started being released on a more regular basis, I longed for a MoviePass-like subscription. I chose Alamo Season Pass last year, after realizing I was going there quite a bit for all the reasons I mentioned and would save money that way.

It’s not perfect. For instance, you can only get a ticket with your Season Pass within seven days of your screening. So, if you want to get pre-sale tickets way in advance for big movies, you have to pay regular price for a ticket. Movies in premium formats like 3D or 70mm still cost a couple bucks, even with the pass.

But if you go to the movies on a regular basis like I do, it’s more than worth it.

Read the original article on Business Insider