MoviePass' Low Subscription Price Just Got Lower
The service has cut prices from $50 per month to $9.95 to a new cost of $6.95.
MoviePass, the subscription service that seems intent on confounding theater chains and film studios with its curiously low price, said Friday it shaved yet another dollar from its monthly fee.
The company said for $6.95 per month, new subscribers will get one movie ticket per day, a minor catch being that users must pay for a year upfront. There is also a one-time $6.55 processing fee.
It's the umpteenth time that MoviePass has changed its price since launching six years ago at $40 per month (before raising it to $50), most significantly eight months ago when it was cut to just $9.95. The change had the desired effect, as subscribers swelled from 20,000 then to nearly 3 million today.
Still, MoviePass is not without its critics, as some theater chains — most notably AMC — have criticized the service for allegedly cheapening the moviegoing experience.
Also, industry executives worry that MoviePass cannot survive (it pays mostly full price for the movie tickets its subscribers use) and wonder if users that are left in the lurch when it folds will ever want to pay $9 (the average price in the U.S.) per ticket again.
MoviePass has retaliated against AMC by cutting off a handful of its locations, though, overall, it says its subscribers have access to 91 percent of all theaters in America.
And all of a sudden MoviePass has some competition, as a company called Sinemia that launched a couple of years ago in Europe recently entered the U.S. market. The company says it provides a pair of movie tickets for $9.99 a month. Unlike MoviePass, seat reservations and Imax and 3D screens are included, but Sinemia's two tickets per month are a far cry from the 30 per month that users can get from MoviePass.
While cheap movie subscriptions certainly have the potential to upend the status quo, it remains to be seen if either can turn a profit. MoviePass says it intends on striking marketing and revenue-share deals with studios and theaters, but none of the big players in the industry have signed on.
MoviePass also knows which theaters its users are at and intends to pitch them discounts to restaurants, bars and such that are within walking distance.
MoviePass has a believer in Helios and Matheson Analytics, which owns 81 percent of the service and recently advanced it more than $45 million, enough to keep it afloat until it can turn a profit, according to MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe.
Lowe says MoviePass is about 1 million subscribers away from profitability, and that there's plenty of motivation for studios and theaters to strike a monetary relationship with his service, as its users were reportedly responsible for 17 percent of the opening box office for Paramount's Annihilation, 10 percent of Orion Pictures' Every Day and 9 percent of Fox's Love, Simon.
"With the current growth and support that we've seen within the last several months, our studio and exhibitor revenues and other marketing partnerships have motivated us to lower the price once again," Lowe said.