MoviePass Touts 150,000 Subscribers After Price Cut

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The site recently slashed its price from $50 to just $9.95, giving users essentially 30 movie tickets for the price of one.

It took just a few days for MoviePass to surpass its 15-month goal of 150,000 subscribers, the service said Wednesday.

It probably shouldn't have been a surprise, though, given that MoviePass recently slashed its price from $50 to just $9.95, giving users essentially 30 movie tickets for the price of one.

For the uninitiated, MoviePass has been around for several years but it had amassed only about 20,000 subscribers at the $50 a month price. For that amount of money, users would get a movie ticket every day that they wanted to see a film in just about any theater in the country.

On Aug. 15, MoviePass cut its price to $9.95, resulting in 500,000 unique visitors at in six hours, a number that crashed its website.

"We did not foresee a phenomenon of this magnitude coming," said Ted Farnsworth, CEO of Helios + Matheson, the majority shareholder of MoviePass.

The MoviePass business model has the company paying mostly full price for the movie tickets its subscribers use, meaning it could be on the hook for about $300 a month from some subscribers who pay just $9.95. MoviePass intends on making up the difference, and more, by selling analytics and via marketing and concession partnerships.

The hyper-discounted movie tickets aren't without controversy, though, as AMC Theatres says it is seeking legal counsel to prevent MoviePass subscribers from using the service at their theaters.

"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," AMC maintains. "We are actively working now to determine whether it may be feasible to opt out and not participate in this shaky and unsustainable program."

A much smaller chain called Studio Movie Grill, on the other hand, is a big supporter of MoviePass and has partnered with the service in the past. This chain makes much more money on high-quality food and cocktails delivered to moviegoers in their seats than do typical theaters with their traditional snack bar.

"If MoviePass subscriptions enable more frequent moviegoing and exploration of movie content, then we're all for it," said Studio Movie Grill CEO Brian Schultz.