Imagine if you could pay a monthly subscription fee of $9.95 USD (equivalent to about $12-13 Canadian) and be able to watch any new movie out in American movie theatres, one free movie every 24 hours.
Turns out, it exists! It’s a little-known service in the United States called “MoviePass”. While it was started in 2011 (at a $30-50 price point), they just recently revealed a new $9.95 No-Contract Monthly Movie Theater Subscription Program, with hopes of disrupting the entertainment industry.
The service is run by Netflix co-founder and the former head of Redbox, Mitch Lowe.
There are some limitations:
- Customers can see one movie per day (24 hour period) in one of the major movie theaters for a flat $9.95 monthly fee
- It has standard screening (not IMAX or 3D)
- You can’t watch the same movie twice
- The card can’t be shared, it’s one card per person (you can only get 1 ticket for yourself)
Even with these limitations, you could theoretically see up to 30 movies a month for a flat $9.95 cost.
How does it work? MoviePass uses a MasterCard debit card and an app which uses GPS to make sure you’re actually in the theatre. Once your “check in” is confirmed with the movie you want to see, it credits the full price of the movie ticket onto the card so that you’re able to purchase the ticket like a normal debit card transaction, except it’s free for you as a monthly subscriber.
Since MoviePass is paying the full price of every ticket sold to theaters, the company faces potentially large losses, but has recently secured funding to accommodate for those losses as it establishes itself in the marketplace.
The company announced on Tuesday that it had sold a majority stake to the big-data firm Helios and Matheson Analytics to promote a nationwide rollout of its low-price service. Helios and Matheson’s goal with financing MoviePass is to collect data on viewing behaviors from a large base of moviegoers.
AMC, the largest American movie theatre chain, denounced the MoviePass pricing plan, and is trying to block the subscription card.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) August 15, 2017
People reacted positively to the news on Twitter:
so in NYC, it will now be cheaper to have MoviePass and see unlimited movies than it is to pay full price for 1 movie. Wow.
— Brett _______ (@BrettRedacted) August 15, 2017
While others commented that they don’t think the service will last long:
MoviePass seems fated to burn through all its capital and die in record time, but what a beautiful idea it is: https://t.co/SmXV8oGcZE
— Casey Newton (@CaseyNewton) August 15, 2017
Currently the service is only available in the United States, but if it came to Canada – would you subscribe to it?