Yesterday, MoviePass announced that they would be lowering their subscription fee to $9.99/month. Subscribers would then have access to see one movie per day with no limit, thus offering significant savings on even the cost of a single movie ticket, which usually run at least $10. This was seen as a last-ditch effort to build a userbase since MoviePass originally started out at $30/month, but wasn’t gaining enough members. By switching to $10/month, the plan was so popular that it crashed their website for a bit.
However, it appears MoviePass didn’t really check to see if the theaters would be okay with this plan, and now AMC Theatres have spoken out against the change. In a statement to Variety, “the world’s largest exhibitor dismissed MoviePass as ‘a small fringe player’ and said that its model ‘is not in the best interest of moviegoers, movie theatres and movie studios.’”
Exhibitors have been unhappy with MoviePass since its inception, and yet it seems like the kind of thing they’re unhappy they didn’t think of first. If Regal Cinemas or AMC offered a subscription service for $30/month, they might go for it since they’re betting that the average consumer might come out more often, buy more snacks (where theaters really make their money anyway), and it will average out as a user might visit more frequently in the summer when there are lots of must-see movies but back off in January or September.
However, because MoviePass is a third party that basically re-sells tickets to consumers, the exhibitors are unhappy with the current arrangement since they feel it cuts into their own loyalty programs. Now AMC is considering pulling out of their arrangement with MoviePass and possibly pursing legal action.
Which is why it may be a good idea to hold off on getting a MoviePass subscription. While I think MoviePass is a good idea and a way for theaters to remain competitive against streaming services, MoviePass still needs the participation of major chains like AMC or else the subscription service is kind of worthless.