The changes will apply to new and current users of the moviegoing app.
It's been a whirlwind few weeks for MoviePass, the subscription movie-going service that once touted itself on its hard-to-believe business practices before crumbling before everyone's eyes a couple of weekends ago. Now, despite paying back an emergency loan and reworking its structure, the company is still changing up its subscription details to keep customers and continue to entice new users.
The first major backlash came upon Mission: Impossible-Fallout's release when the service was surged so much that it basically ran out of money and was unable to complete transactions for its users, who were already at theaters anticipating to purchase tickets for screenings of the Tom Cruise film. MoviePass operates on a budgeted price point, expecting many of its users will not use the service every day, or even every week. But, at such a low price (the monthly plans were priced at $9.99) and with a huge influx of new subscribers, the busy summer blockbuster season was no match.
Last week, MoviePass said its $9.99 per month service would include a price increase to $15 a month and would recognize a black-out period for all film releases, meaning you couldn't use the service during a film's first two weeks of release. That rule only applied to films released on over 1,000 screens, so potentially every wide release would come with a two-week waiting period.
Now, MoviePass has backtracked and reworked its structure, keeping the subscriptions at $9.99 a month, but limiting the overall number of movies you can see during that time frame. Before, you could see one movie per day. Now, you are limited to three movies per month. In a press release, the company said, "Because only 15% of MoviePass members see four or more movies a month, we expect that the new subscription model will have no impact whatsoever on over 85% of our subscribers."
Additionally, if that 15% of moviegoers do decide to continue visiting their local cinema, they will receive a discount on movie ticket prices for all tickets purchased through the MoviePass mobile app. Will that make a difference? It remains to be seen. MoviePass has been around for several years, but only truly made a mark in the moviegoing business last year when it changed its price model to the low cost of $9.99 for 'unlimited movies,' according to its marketing at the time.
While it has shaken up the industry, no doubt increasing the number of tickets purchased for films than in recent years, MoviePass is on the verge of losing its very identity that set it apart to begin with. Many exhibitors are noticing, too. AMC Theatres now offers a monthly plan at a cost of $19.99, allowing members to see a movie a day at any AMC theatre, plus discounts on concessions. This could become the new model for theater chains as they compete to continue drawing people to their cinemas despite high ticket prices.
More to come...