AMC Theatres, the largest operator of movie theaters in the country, said Tuesday it is consulting its attorneys in an attempt to squash the efforts of an independent company that is selling a month’s worth of tickets for $9.95.
MoviePass has been in existence for several years, but its service took off on Tuesday when it announced it would drop its price from $50 per month to $9.95, meaning that each of its subscribers would pay less than $10 every month for the ability to attend any movie they wish at nearly any theater at the rate of once per day.
The theaters and studios don’t miss out on revenue, as MoviePass pays full price for tickets that it gives to its subscribers — its business model being that it can partner with exhibitors and studios for marketing, concessions and whatever else it thinks of once it gains customers.
AMC, though, thinks MoviePass is bad for business, and it is set to issue a press release to that effect shortly, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
“AMC is consulting with its attorneys to determine if or how AMC can prevent a subscription program offered by MoviePass from being used at AMC Theatres in the United States,” AMC says in its press release.
“AMC believes that holding out to consumers that first-run movies can be watched in theaters at great quantities for a monthly price of $9.95 isn’t doing moviegoers any favors,” the company says. “That price is unsustainable and only sets up consumers for ultimate disappointment down the road.”
MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe told The Hollywood Reporter earlier Tuesday that the response to its price cut has been so overwhelming that its MoviePass.com website has been crashing due to overuse, though he wasn’t immediately available to respond to AMC’s press release.
“We are actively working now to determine whether it may be feasible to opt out and not participate in this shaky and unsustainable program,” AMC said late Tuesday.
MoviePass says its subscription service is good at 91 percent of the movie theaters in the U.S., though that would drop significantly if AMC can figure out a way to opt out, given it operates 11,000 screens at 1,000 theaters, largely in the U.S.