Image Source: Everett Collection
Sick of paying an arm and a leg and promising to hand over your first-born child just to go to the movie theater these days? You're not alone. Thankfully, MoviePass is here to help. The startup, which has been around since 2011 and is led by Netflix cofounder and former Red Box executive Mitch Lowe, has made it possible for you to go to all of the movies you want in a month for one low fee. Sounds like a Joanne the Scammer-level trap? Yeah, we thought so, too.
MoviePass originally offered subscribers the service to see one movie per day (if they were so inclined) for $30 a month, but now it's dropped its fee to a paltry $9.95 (which excludes 3D and IMAX films). For people who live in big cities where movie tickets reach as high as $15 or $16 for a single ticket, this would be an incredible money-saver. According to Lowe, competition from streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon is not to blame for the recent drop in ticket sales. Instead, he (quite rightly) asserts that it's the insanely high ticket prices that most likely keep people from going to the movies. "People really do want to go more often," Lowe said. "They just don't like the transaction."
In a recent note on its website announcing its new price, MoviePass explained that space to sign up for the program is limited. It didn't take long for people to flock to the sale, crashing the MoviePass site. "For the last several years, we have been testing a number of service offers and price points. We have learned a lot during this process and believe that we now have an offer that can't be beat," the company wrote. "Effective today, we are introducing a universal subscription plan for $9.95 per month . . . As a subscriber, you can see any movie, at any theater, at any time. For your convenience, we currently support more than 91 percent of movie theaters nationwide . . . We believe that you want to see more movies in theaters. Our $9.95 per month subscription makes it possible for you to see a movie every day, if you would like."
In short, this was us after hearing about it:
Image Source: Warner Bros.
You know who isn't happy about MoviePass's new deal, though? AMC Theaters. The massive company is now threatening legal action against MoviePass, dismissing it as "a small fringe player" and saying that its business model "is not in the best interest of moviegoers, movie theatres, and movie studios." Ironically, the two companies worked together in 2015 to help get MoviePass off the ground, but their relationship has most definitely soured. Granted, AMC's stock has taken some pretty sizable hits recently thanks to a low-key Summer full of movie flops and sluggish ticket sales, and its numbers fell even further on the day MoviePass announced its new subscription fee. AMC is consulting with its attorneys to find a way to block MoviePass from being used at its theaters and claimed MoviePass "will be losing money on every subscriber seeing two movies or more in a month."
For his part, Lowe isn't worried. "This is so much like Blockbuster was when we rolled out Netflix or Redbox," he said. "It's the big guy being afraid of the little guy offering better value to consumers."