The subscription service lets users see a movie each day for a low monthly fee
For many families, a trip to the movies is a real budget-buster — and we’re not just talking about the popcorn and candy the kids beg for. With the average ticket cost close to $9, taking four (or more) people to see a movie in theaters is a pricey proposition.
That’s why the news that there’s a subscription service charging just $9.95 per month for (mostly) unlimited movie trips is grabbing all kinds of attention.
MoviePass, the idea of former Netflix executive Mitch Lowe, will now charge customers $9.95 for a monthly movie ticket subscription. The cost used to be $15 per month for only two movies, so the new price is huge news. For that amount, users are allowed to see one movie each day at any theater in the United States that accepts debit cards, which MoviePass claims is over 91 percent of theaters nationwide. The pass isn’t eligible for Imax or 3D viewings, but otherwise, all films are fair game.
A customer is able to use MoviePass on a month-to-month basis and there’s no fee for canceling. Each member of the family needs their own membership, but when the cost of a single ticket is almost $10, that’s recouped if you go twice in 30 days. MoviePass then reimburses theaters for the full price of each viewing.
According to Bloomberg, business isn’t exactly booming for movie theaters with the top four cinema operators, led by AMC Entertainment Holdings, losing $1.3 billion in market values this month after a slow summer. The hope behind MoviePass is that it will one day make them cash by gathering a large base of customers to collect data from based on their viewing behavior. Which in turn, could help in targeting ads to subscribers.
Ted Farnsworth, chief executive officer at Helios and Matheson, who own a majority stake in MoviePass as of today, says the idea is no different than Facebook or Google. “The more we understand our fans, the more we can target them,” he explains.
While Farnsworth concedes that the data-gathering is still “years in the future,” the hope is that this low-priced subscription simply gets more people to go to the movies. “People really do want to go more often,” Lowe explains. “They just don’t like the transaction.”
As a parent with two kids who love Reese’s Pieces and buckets of popcorn along with their $9 tickets, I can confirm that to be true. While our family loves seeing movies in theaters, the total cost for the four of us makes it something we do every few months, tops. To us, not many movies are worth the $80-ish price tag after the cost of tickets and snacks, so we typically wait for Blu-ray or for films to hit Netflix. Even if only my husband and I got memberships, the cost would be greatly offset for our family and would make us more likely to go often.
Not to mention, helping motivate us for more frequent film-going date nights. We all need more date nights.
You can check to be sure your area has theaters where MoviePass is accepted here, but beware that their site is being slammed today in wake of their new low price and things are moving slowly as they work on dealing with the influx of new users.
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