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MoviePass has decided to sell 30 tickets for the price of one again.
On the MoviePass.com website Wednesday, the service was advertising what it’s now calling “MoviePass Unlimited,” which is the plan that made the company famous in August: $9.95 per month for a ticket each day.
MoviePass quickly grew from just 20,000 users to more than 2 million when it launched the $9.95 plan in August, but stopped offering it April 13 and CEO Mitch Lowe told The Hollywood Reporter at CinemaCon in Las Vegas that he wasn’t sure if it would ever return, though as of Wednesday it has.
The offering is very controversial, as some exhibitors, most notably giant theater chain AMC Entertainment, object to it on the grounds that it cheapens the moviegoing experience. If MoviePass yanks the offer — as it had done for three weeks for new subscribers — consumers might balk at paying full price for a ticket again, according to detractors.
The MoviePass business plan has the service paying full price for about 94 percent of the tickets its subscribers use, so the company could potentially lose millions of dollars each month. Lowe says, though, that the vast majority of subs see less than two movies a month. He also says MoviePass will turn a profit by getting kickbacks from theaters for tickets and concessions, sending restaurant and other coupons to users and marketing film titles to them.
MoviePass is 92-percent owned by Helios and Matheson Analytics, which specializes in selling consumer data, and presumably it will do so with the data collected by MoviePass.
MoviePass had ditched its flagship plan in favor of a new one that supplied just four tickets per month, plus a subscription to iHeartRadio All-Access for about $10 a month. A version of that plan, for $7.95 a month and three movie tickets a month, was also available Wednesday.
MoviePass didn’t respond to a request for comment, but Lowe told THR last week that he was working on dozens of new offerings, and it appears the multipronged approach is underway, with two plans being offered at the site while for the past three weeks there was only one.
Future plans, Lowe says, will allow users to upgrade so that they can use MoviePass for 3D and Imax movies, for couples, and for reserved seating.
Last week, MoviePass irritated some existing customers by changing its rules so that users could no longer see the same movie twice. Lowe said the rule change was necessary to prevent subscribers from using MoviePass to get a ticket to see a hot movie, like Avengers: Infinity War, everyday then selling the ticket.
Plus, MoviePass has added to its terms-of-use disclosure that it “reserves the right to change from time to time the number of eligible movies a member can see per month,” so the movie-per-day deal is not necessarily locked in even for existing subscribers.
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