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AMC Theaters will launch its own service for renting and buying digital films


AMC Theaters, the largest movie theater chain in the US, is launching an on-demand video service, according to The New York Times. The service will let customers rent or buy movies, much in the same way Apple’s iTunes Store and Amazon’s Prime Video have operated for years.

AMC Theaters on Demand, as it will be called, will launch tomorrow as an online store with approximately 2,000 films available, with new releases to be added after a standard theatrical run. Unlike the direct-to-consumer subscription streaming services that companies like Disney, Apple, Comcast (NBCUniversal), and AT&T (WarnerMedia) are preparing to launch, AMC’s is specifically video-on-demand (VOD).

Studios like Disney, Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures, and Paramount have all entered deals with the theater chain to sell and rent movies — both new releases and older titles — once their theater run ends. Each film will cost between $3 and $5.99 to rent, and $9.99 to $19.99 to purchase.

The idea behind AMC Theaters on Demand is to bolster the chain’s main business venture: theater attendance. The company wants to capitalize on its AMC Stubs members, including its A-List subscribers that now pay around $20 a month for general access to new films, a model that was spurred by now-defunct MoviePass.

Yet there are also more than 20 million households who subscribe to AMC’s more general Stubs loyalty program, according to the Times. Offering those members additional benefits, including a free digital version of a movie they paid to see in theaters, is one way to introduce more people to AMC’s Theaters on Demand service, while also encouraging those same consumers to actually go to a theater showing.

More than 6 million tickets for Disney’s The Lion King were purchased through the Stubs program, the Times adds. Those people “will all get a personalized message from AMC saying that they can now enjoy it at home through AMC Theaters On Demand,” when the movie is digitally released on Tuesday, according to Elizabeth Frank, AMC’s chief content officer. Although it’s a new practice for AMC, other theater chains have practiced it. Cineplex, one of the top theater chains in Canada, has offered a similar program for years. AMC is the first major American chain to offer the program, though.

The streaming service comes at an interesting time for AMC and other Hollywood studios. The theater chain has butt heads with Netflix over carrying the latter’s original films, including Martin Scorsese’s most recent movie, The Irishman. Netflix, and often times other companies like Amazon, don’t want to comply with AMC’s 12-week theatrical window policy. The rule states that Netflix (and other streaming services) can’t stream a film until it’s played for 12-weeks exclusively in theaters. Netflix has never agreed to the terms, and has used smaller theater chains to play its movies in theaters for shorter windows, ranging from a few days to a few weeks.

Launching a video-on-demand streaming service with major studios’ backing helps AMC get into the digital market while also ensuring its ongoing relationships with the five major studios, as well as the value of a ticket stub, remains intact.



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Technology

Save on Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics cards, Apple Watch Series 4, and more


A few of Nvidia’s powerful, ray tracing-enabled desktop graphics cards are far cheaper than usual today at Best Buy. Nvidia’s Founders Edition variations of the RTX 2080 and RTX 2070 are significantly discounted, resulting in prices that, while still fairly expensive, are a bit easier to swallow.

The RTX 2080 is available at $599.99, a $200 discount from its usual cost. It comes with a download code for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which you can redeem when the game launches on October 25th, 2019.

The RTX 2070 costs just $449.99, down from $599.99. It, too, comes with a code for CoD: Modern Warfare. Admittedly, it’s not tough to find other RTX 2070 models for around $500, or even slightly below, but this is a good deal.

For context on Best Buy’s prices, similar graphics cards made by other OEMs usually cost only a little more than this, and their cards often come equipped with more fans and sometimes slightly higher clock speeds. Going that route might be best if you really want the most power and efficiency. If you’re a purist, though, it’s tough to beat the industrial design on Nvidia’s Founders Edition cards.

Something else worth noting is that Nvidia’s “Super” variants of the RTX 2080 and RTX 2070 are more powerful (if only by a little bit) than the regular RTX models, and are only slightly more costly in some cases. It’s tough to find Founders Editions of either “Super” variant, but an affordable alternative is Zotac’s RTX 2070 Super card for only $499.99.


Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

If you’re looking for a deal on an Apple Watch, the Apple Watch Series 4 (44mm, GPS) is $329.97 at Amazon, $50 less than usual. Currently, the only case finish and band combo to go for this price is the silver aluminum casing with a white sport band.

If you’re torn between this and the Apple Watch Series 5, a $90 difference stands between the two watches. As far as what you’ll get with the more recent model, its always-on display is the Series 5’s big feature. The Verge’s Dieter Bohn praised the feature in the review, not just for its utility, but also because Apple found a way to keep the display from quickly draining the battery. Otherwise, the Series 4 boasts many of the same tricks, including fall detection, EKG, and a refined design.


Borderlands 3 Calypso Twins

Target is offering 25 percent off of select video games if you opt for same-day pickup at your local store. Recent titles like Borderlands 3, Control, and FIFA 20 make the cut. There are hundreds of games looped into the deal, so if you have a few on your wishlist, check out Target’s landing page for the promotion.


Photo by Vlad Savov / The Verge

I’m becoming convinced that $199.95 might be the regular price for the Beats Powerbeats Pro. These truly excellent wireless headphones started out at $249, but have been $50 off the regular price for over a week at Amazon. Each color (moss, navy, black, ivory) is available at the discount price.

The Beats Powerbeats Pro are our top pick for truly wireless headphones. Compared to the second-generation Apple AirPods, Sony’s WF-1000XM3, and other models, the Powerbeats Pro stand out, providing better comfort, longer battery life, and richer sound.



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