Moviepass and AMC

Is MoviePass a Good Deal? Not for AMC Theatres, It Isn’t

moviepass

Are you a hard core movie buff?  If so, then MoviePass is for you.  For just $10 a month, you can go to almost any theatre and see a movie a day.  MoviePass is like Netflix, but for movie theatres.  It’s a subscription based service that allows you to, you guessed it, go and watch movies in the theatres.  MoviePass isn’t by any means new.  It has been around since 2011, but the membership price used to be a lot higher.  Which was causing people not to use it.  But now, the price has been lowered, and starting today, you can sign up for that subscription for only $9.95 per month.

Insane right?  The cost of a movie starts around $15 these days, depending on where you are.  Which can make going to the movies almost impossible.  So, even if you only watch one movie per month, this subscription is totally worth it.  As it will literally pay for itself.  But if you subscribe to the service, you can watch as many movies as you’d like in a month.  Well, almost.  You can watch up to one movie per day.  But again, that’s kind of insane.  You are limited in terms of what types of movies you can see – no 3D or iMAX, but that’s still pretty insane.

When I was reading about this yesterday, I had questioned the service because it seems like it would be too good to be true.  And while I wasn’t right in terms of there being a catch,  I was right in that something is up.  During the night hours (or maybe in the early morning) AMC Theatres has threatened MoviePass with a lawsuit.  And maybe this is where the “too good to be true” idea comes in to play.  MoviePass is still required to pay the theatre for the cost of the ticket.  So it’s possible that MoviePass would go into the red with this one.  Which is the argument that AMC is making – that it’s unsustainable.

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The original price for a MoviePass subscription started at $15 and ran up to $50 per month.  The larger price point was for unlimited movies and for bigger cities.  AMC is the largest theatre chain in the US, and their argument is that it’s unsustainable.  Specifically because the ticket prices below $10 a month wouldn’t be able to generate enough cash to operate quality theatres, or produce enough income that would allow film makers to make movies of value.

But I question whether or not that should be on MoviePass to being with?  I don’t necessarily know what their business model is, and yes it seems like they will lose money.  That being said, perhaps this is a subsidiary of a larger company and cash is flowing in.  If we were to compare this to something like Netflix, its easy to understand how it might not make money.  Netflix has a relatively low subscription cost, per month, and you can watch whatever you want whenever you want to watch it.  Similar to MoviePass.   But the difference is that MoviePass is essentially a third party.  So they have to pay the theatres in order for this service to work.

So I can understand why AMC is worried, but I don’t understand why they’re threatening a lawsuit.  All they have to do is sit back and let the service fail on it’s own.  They are likely to be out some money, but what will cost them more – a few movie tickets that aren’t reimbursed, or the legal fees for a lawsuit?  Again, I get what they’re saying and why they want this shut down, but I think they’re going about it the wrong way.  That being said, I still like the idea of MoviePass, but perhaps the business model needs to be reconsidered.