March 02--"Welcome to the AMC family!"
With that website greeting to movie-going fans who frequent Carmike Cinemas theaters in Columbus and its other locations across 41 states -- 276 complexes altogether at last count -- AMC Entertainment Holdings signaled Wednesday that the Carmike brand is entering the history books.
(Columbus movie theaters changing names to reflect AMC brand)
Leawood, Kan.-based AMC's $1.2 billion acquisition of Carmike Cinemas, formerly headquartered in downtown Columbus, has customers who frequent the movie houses wondering what happens with the rewards perks they have accrued under Carmike while taking in the latest Hollywood blockbuster, animated film, romance story or horror thrill ride.
Visually, the major change at theaters will be a change in signs and logos designating that Carmike is now distinctly AMC. Beyond that, the Kansas firm appears to be taking a steady approach to integrating Carmike customers into the AMC Stubs loyalty program. It also has said no major changes in ticket pricing are expected, at least in the near term.
As for name changes, before April is out, the Columbus theaters will become the AMC Columbus Park 15 on Whittlesey Boulevard, the AMC Columbus 13 on Whittlesey Road, the AMC Classic Peachtree 8 on Manchester Expressway, and the AMC Classic Fort Benning 10 on the military installation's Main Post.
Signs above the door aside, it's all about the perks and benefits of being rewarded for expressing loyalty and gobbling up movies on a regular basis. Here is what AMC is saying about several areas that will impact their new "family" members in Columbus and beyond:
After the rebranding of theaters is completed, a redesigned website, amctheatres.com and mobile app will be available for finding show times, buying tickets and signing up for the AMC Stubs loyalty program. Customers also can use Fandango.com, MovieTickets.com and Atom Tickets to buy tickets in advance.
AMC said there will be "no significant changes" up or down in ticket prices with the rebranding effort. A caveat is that the firm noted it occasionally evaluates prices based on "market conditions, increasing operating costs or when premium formats are introduced." Translation: Don't expect prices to go down.
AMC is promising that all of its theaters, including the Carmike locations, will see "guest-friendly enhancements" to include Coca-Cola Freestyle machines that offer more than 100 flavors and free refills. It also said beer, wine and liquor now being served at some locations will continue, with any bars taking on the MacGuffins brand. It expects to expand bar menus "significantly" this year.
Once the brand conversion is completed, the free AMC Stubs Insider loyalty program will be available to former Carmike Cinemas customers. An upgraded $15 membership called AMC Stubs Premiere will have additional benefits and rewards.
-- Insider members get free refills on large popcorn, up to $2 off tickets on Tuesdays, and a $5 reward to spend toward concessions once 5,000 points are earned. Earn 20 points per $1 spent. That means those who spend $250 over time receive $5 in theater money.
-- Premiere members earn points five times quicker, it said, with each $5 accrued qualifying for spending on tickets or concessions. Those members also receive $5 off tickets on Tuesdays and receive free upgrades on popcorn and soft drink sizes, along with priority service at some theaters.
AMC noted that former Carmike Cinemas theaters -- which has run a "Stimulus Tuesday" program for several years -- will be offering $5 tickets all day on Tuesdays, along with special-priced concession items, for a limited time. The offer applies at AMC and AMC Classic locations. All of those in Columbus fall into those two brands. Former Carmike customers must sign up for AMC Stubs, however, to get those deals.
Carmike Rewards transition to AMC Stubs
Carmike Rewards members will continue to earn and use rewards normally until their theater converts to AMC. Once the transition from Carmike to AMC is completed, rewards members will not lose credit for anything they have earned with Carmike, the company said.
The rewards will load into the AMC Stubs account after customers sign up and use the same email they did with their Carmike Rewards account. Any printed Carmike rewards can be used at any Carmike or AMC-branded theater. To do so, however, customers will be required to print their rewards at a Carmike location before the conversion to AMC. Carmike rewards can no longer be printed at home.
"Once the reward is loaded onto your account, it will have a 90-day expiration date and you will be able to use it at any AMC, AMC Classic or AMC Dine-In location," AMC said of the Carmike Rewards being rolled over. "The reward will automatically apply to your next qualifying transaction."
Carmike's annual refillable popcorn bucket
All AMC theaters will honor the $4.25 annual popcorn bucket refills at former Carmike Cinemas locations through the end of this year, the firm said. All AMC Classic locations will sell the bucket at the current price of $21 plus tax. AMC Stubs members can use their free large popcorn refill for a second refill on the same visit that they use their bucket refill deal.
Carmike gift cards and discount tickets
Valid Carmike tickets and gift cards will be honored at former Carmike theaters, the company said. It also anticipates being able to honor Carmike cards and discount tickets at all AMC theaters nationwide within a few months.
Aside from visiting amctheatres.com and the theater chain's social media sites, AMC asks customers with questions or concerns to contact their local theater manager, tweet the company at @amchelps or call AMC customer service at 888-262-4386.
(c)2017 the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus, Ga.)
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