MoviePass Announces Major Changes to Service; Will Black Out New Releases

     July 31, 2018

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The drama surrounding MoviePass continues to unfold, but this subscription-based service isn’t dead yet. This thing really kicked into gear about a year ago, when it announced itself as a sort of Netflix for theatrical movies. Subscribers could pay $9.95 per month and see as many movies in the theater as they’d like. The community quickly grew into over 3 million members, but of course the question then became how can this possibly be profitable? The short answer is, it can’t.

As the MoviePass community has grown, the service has implemented a number of changes to try and stay afloat. These changes have not always been met with glee from its subscriber base—especially those who paid for a full year subscription. Things came to a head this past weekend when many MoviePass members found that Mission: Impossible – Fallout was completely unavailable on the app. Now, a MoviePass member could still have purchased a ticket the traditional way, but subscribers felt cheated as they already paid for this service that was now seemingly blacking out a major new release.

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Image via Paramount Pictures

This was merely the first of a number of changes that MoviePass is now making permanent. The subscription service announced today a series of new steps it’s going to take in order to reach profitability, and they are as follows:

  • Actions that have been implemented are currently cutting the monthly burn by 60%.
  • A future increase of the standard pricing plan to $14.95 per month within the next 30 days.
  • First Run Movies opening on 1,000+ Screens to be limited in their availability during the first two weeks, unless made available on a promotional basis,
  • Implementation of additional tactics to prevent abuse of the MoviePass service.

So it sounds like the blacking out of new movies will be a regular practice, at least for the first two weeks of release, which will certainly be a bummer for subscribers. And of course it’ll be interesting to see if this works at all. The past few days have seen MoviePass outages at entire theaters for all films, and theater chains are getting nervous that they’re not actually going to get paid as the viability of MoviePass seems to fluctuate from day to day.

In addition to the aforementioned measures, MoviePass reiterated that it aims to gain revenue by other streams, including selling data from its subscribers to third parties and continued rollout “and refinement” of the Peak Pricing program.

Ultimately I think MoviePass was a great idea that just wasn’t sustainable, at least in its initial form. It got a lot of folks out to see more movies in theaters, which is a very good thing, but then of course you have to find a way to make sure the company can also stay in business. Since MoviePass’s launch, other competitor services have surfaced, including AMC’s subscription service, which has attracted over 175,000 people in five weeks.

So MoviePass is still alive, at least for now, but changes will continue for subscribers as the company tries to find new ways to become profitable. What do you think folks? Are you sticking with MoviePass? Sound off in the comments below.

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