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Why movie theater chains are ‘terrified’ of MoviePass

POSTED: December 25, 2017 10:49 a.m.
Herb Scribner/

As Bloomberg reported, MoviePass, which helps feed people’s film habits by giving them movie theater passes for a monthly fee, recently dropped its monthly subscription price to $9.95...

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A writer from The Verge just made the case for why movie theater chains are so worried about subscription-based services like MoviePass.

Writer Nick Statt wrote over the weekend that he recently signed up for MoviePass, the monthly Netflix-like subscription service that allows customers one free movie ticket a day for $9.95 a month.

Statt wrote that the plan saved him a lot of money. He paid about $30 for his first three months and saw 14 movies, saving him bundles of cash. He even said that it saved him some space to spend money on concessions.

But Statt said movie theater chains “are terrified” of customers like him because he, like others, realized “a dark secret: perhaps movies aren’t really worth what we’re told they’re worth,” he wrote.

“MoviePass has fundamentally changed the value I put on movie tickets. This is why it’s so controversial for theater chains,” he wrote.

Statt said his mindset on going to the movies has changed. He used to worry before about spending too much money. But MoviePass has made movie tickets seem more affordable, which makes him more interested in going to the movies.

That idea, he said, terrifies theaters. Customers who sign up for MoviePass and subscription services will see less value in high ticket prices and always look for alternative options to purchase tickets.

"Now, nothing really gets in the way of going to the theater except how much free time I have," he wrote. "But once you’ve gotten something for what feels like free, it’s difficult to go back to paying for it. If MoviePass went away, I’d still reserve money and time to see one or two films a month, but I’d be more choosy than I used to be and more reluctant about paying full price for tickets. I can imagine other subscribers writing off theaters until something similar to MoviePass pops up again — especially with so many other, cheaper entertainment options available."

MoviePass first gained attention back in September after it dropped its monthly price to about the same as Netflix. For $9.95 a month, customers could see any film they want from almost any theater. The average cost of a movie theater ticket stands at around $8.84, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

AMC Theaters released a statement at the time that condemned the subscription service, saying the price model won’t work long term.

Cinemark Theatres responded by creating its own monthly club, called Movie Club, which gives customers one movie ticket per month for $8.99, according to the Deseret News. Customers receive reduced rates and discounts at the box office.
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