MoviePass wanted to change things up in the moviegoing experience by offering a subscription, letting customers see one movie a day every month for a low monthly fee.
The service has had a variety of different subscription models in its short time on this planet, with monthly options and yearly options to choose from. But it wasn’t until the service reduced its monthly subscription fee to just $10 per month that things took off. MoviePass earned itself over 3 million subscribers after that price drop, but it still wasn’t enough to actually keep the lights on for much longer.
MoviePass’s struggles are well documented at this point. The service has tried to make ends meet by deploying a variety of different add-ons to its plan. That includes “peak pricing”, which adds a one-time charge (in some cases, up to $4.00) when you buy a ticket to a popular movie at a popular time. (Or it could just be a new release at 10:00 AM on a week day.)
But it has been a slippery slope. Most recently MoviePass simply ran out of money and, as a result, folks over the previous weekend weren’t able to buy movie tickets. And that’s when a huge seismic shift happened. During the launch weekend of Mission: Impossible – Fallout, many MoviePass subscribers discovered they couldn’t use their subscription service to watch the movie. And then some discovered that their theater wasn’t even supported at all anymore.
According to the National Association of Theater Owners, there are 5803 theaters in the US. Up until yesterday, #MoviePass supported 4010 which represents 69%. A far cry from the 91% they routinely claimed. Now it’s just 3% of theaters. @moviepass @moviepass_cs @slashfilm
— Stitch Kingdom (@stitchkingdom) July 30, 2018
The reason for the change? You should just read it from MoviePass itself, because it’s pretty wild:
“As we continue to evolve the service, certain movies may not always be available in every theater on our platform. This is no different than other in-home streaming options that often don’t carry the latest shows or movies that may be available on other services. For example, you can’t ever find Game of Thrones on Netflix, nor is Season 4 of Schitt’s Creek available there yet. Here at MoviePass, we have strived to make every movie in theaters available to you as part of your subscription, and Peak Pricing has allowed – and will continue to allow – us to do so.“
And if that’s not enough, MoviePass would actually like you to try and force movie theater chains to support the subscription service, thank you very much:
“Can’t find the movie you want to see on the app? Go to Twitter and let the studio behind it know. Want more e-ticketing theater options in your area, so that the movies you want to see peak less? Let your theater know you want them to partner with MoviePass.“
MoviePass has also confirmed that it won’t be supporting the “major new releases” anymore at launch. So that means if a movie opens up in over 1,000 screens across the U.S., MoviePass won’t let you buy a ticket to it using the service unless it’s part of what MoviePass says is “a promotional basis”. So you will probably have to wait two weeks after a movie’s initial wide release to use MoviePass to see it, unless of course it’s a film like Gotti or American Animals, which were released with a partnership from MoviePass Ventures.
So, all of that aside, what’s next? After announcing it will be drastically limiting which movies you can see with MoviePass and drastically reducing the number of theaters that are supported, how about a price hike? That’s what’s happening, as MoviePass says that within the next 30 days the monthly subscription fee will go up to $14.95 per month.
For that price you will still (for now) be able to see one movie every 24 hours. But keep in mind you can’t see the same movie more than once. And MoviePass says it is actively working on “additional tactics” to keep people from “abusing its service”.
It’s probably time to pour one out for MoviePass.
Have you ever tried MoviePass? Think you’ll want to now?