Better run to the theater every day between now and next week. The MoviePass rules are changing. Again.
Another day, another change for MoviePass. The company announced Monday that it’s scrapping an announced plan (from last week) to raise prices to $14.95 per month and will instead, limit subscribers to seeing 3 movies per month for the original $10 membership.
If you’re just joining the MoviePass conversation, it gained a huge following about this time last year when it began charging $10 per month to see an unlimited number of movies in theaters. The only stipulation was that you could only see one movie per day. Movie fans, even casual fans quickly signed up and as of the first of August some 3 million people have subscriptions.
A victim of its success, MoviePass is burning through $40 million every month because the company pays full price for those tickets. If someone sees, say 10 movies a month, MoviePass is paying full price for those tickets which costs anywhere from $9 to $14.
In recent weeks MoviePass has struggled to stay afloat. In July the company began charging an extra fee, a surge price, for certain movies at certain times. If a subscriber checked in to watch Mission Impossible on a Saturday, they were forced to pay an extra $5 or so for the ticket. When that didn’t help enough, MoviePass stopped buying tickets for the blockbusters. Subscribers could not, for example, see Mission Impossible or Christopher Robin and would need to wait 2 weeks after a movie first hit the theater.
Then last week MoviePass announced it would raise the price to $14.95 per month for the subscription. Members were unhappy and told them so.
Monday, MoviePass pivoted again, announcing it would keep the $10/month subscription cost but would limit people to 3 movies per month. It also stated that after seeing 3 movies, subscribers would receive a discount on tickets of roughly $3-$5.
Movie reviewer and podcaster John Ellis has been unhappy with MoviePass since the changes first begin this summer. He uses MoviePass to see roughly 8 movies per month.
“With the initial plan, I was saving $90, maybe $100 a month so it was a no-brainer for me for $10 a month,” he said. “You’re still saving money but I’m not certain when that’s going to change. Next week, what’s the deal going to be? Frankly I’m at the point where I just don’t trust MoviePass anymore.”
The subscription can still be a good deal for anyone who sees more than one movie each month. If a movie ticket costs $10, and in some cities and times a ticket costs $12-$15, seeing just one film in the theater will pay for the MoviePass subscription. At most a subscriber will save $25 if they see 3 movies each month.
“I have to decide, do I want to pay…I may as well just pay an extra $25 or more and not even have to deal with them and move on to something else,” Ellis said. “We’ll see, I’m going to let it go for a month or two and see how the math works for me and then make a decision there.”
In the announcement, MoviePass stated that approximately 15% of its customers are stressing the system by purchasing tickets for many movies each month and that the company is losing a lot of money on those subscribers.
The next time you open the MoviePass app (if its already been updated), you will be prompted to accept the new terms. If you do, the new plan goes into effect with your next billing cycle beginning August 15th.
Hear John Ellis’ podcast “The Best Movie of the Year. So Far.”
and here’s the full announcement from MoviePass
Dear MoviePass Member,
On August 15, 2018, we will hit the one-year anniversary of MoviePass’ revolutionary price point of $9.95 a month. We’ve experienced tremendous growth, and we know that at times, the frequent changes to our service have been frustrating to you. But through it all, one thing is clear: we’ve gotten people excited about going to the movies again.
Over the last year, we have tried different things and we’ve discovered what our members love about our service — the low price point and the ability to go to more than 91 percent of theaters nationwide. We’ve also learned what people don’t like about the service — features including Peak Pricing and Ticket Verification.
So now, with almost a full year of learnings under our belt, we’re introducing a new pricing plan that retains the features you love the most and removes the ones you don’t. Most importantly, this new plan will ensure that we can run a sustainable business and continue providing you with an amazing deal to go see movies in theaters.
Here are the details:
- Under our new plan, MoviePass members will be able to see up to three standard movies a month for $9.95, and be given up to a $5.00discount to any additional movie tickets purchased. Today, 85 percent of MoviePass members go to three movies or less per month, so these changes cater to the majority of our movie-going community.
- The new plan will include many major studio first-run films, however there will be some exceptions (note that theaters with e-ticketing will include all movies and showtimes with no restrictions).
- We will be suspending Peak Pricing and Ticket Verification requirements for all members in the new plan described above.
- Over the coming days, MoviePass members with a monthly subscription renewing on or after August 15th will be given the option in the MoviePass app to transition to the new plan. Quarterly and annual subscribers will not be impacted until their renewal date.
The truth is, disruption and innovation require staying flexible and having an open mind. We genuinely strive to offer you a service that is a great deal, and we believe that the new plan we’re introducing will be attractive to the majority of our members.
It’s been an exciting journey so far, and MoviePass is here to stay. Your endless support, understanding and enthusiasm are greatly appreciated.