It was almost too good to be true, a movie pass that would get you into an unlimited amount of movies every month for $10 bucks.
As MoviePass was on the verge of running out of money, however, the service has come up with a plan to extend its life without instituting a 50% price increase. The company was also going to restrict access to MoviePass holders to opening blockbusters, but following a social media storm over the blackout of Mission: Impossible – Fallout has since rescinded.
“We have heard – and we have listened to – our MoviePass Community and we will not be raising prices to $14.95 [from $9.95] a month,” said MoviePass in a press release issued earlier today.
“We discovered over several months of research that our customers value a low monthly price above nearly everything else,” said CEO Mitch Lowe.
But the company also recognized some misuses of the service that may have been hurting its bottom line including scalping and sharing the MoviePass card with friends. Lowe said the company was spending over $45M per month more than it was making.
“Additionally, the new plan addresses past misuses which imposed undue costs on the system, including ticket scalping, unauthorized card usage and other activities, which in the past necessitated the use of certain remedial measures that have sometimes been inconvenient for our subscribers,” stated the press release.
The company didn’t exactly promise first run movies would not be excluded from the three movies per month, which means you may not get tickets to the next Star Wars film with MoviePass. However, cardholders will be getting a $5 discount on additional films which might add value to the subscription.
“Any industry-wide disruption like MoviePass requires a tremendous amount of testing, pivoting, and learning,“ said Lowe. “We believe this new plan is a way for us to move forward with stability and continue to revitalize an entrenched industry and return moviegoing to everyone’s financial reach.”
MoviePass’s biggest competitor may be AMC Stubs A-List which offers up to three movies per week at AMC theaters, including IMAX and RealD 3D, for $19.95 per month. But 12 movies per month may be overkill for even the most avid moviegoers who might struggle to find that many new movies to watch.
Still though, the subscription model for movie passes may indeed, help keep the industry afloat. There has been a decline in ticket sales (last year at its lowest point since 1992, according to Bloomberg), and it’s sad to see happen. It may have started with the dawn of VHS, but the emergence of shipped DVDs, On Demand, streaming video services and bootlegging have really taken a toll on the amount of ticket sales in the US.