MoviePass has been making the news a lot these days. If it’s not “how will they make money”, it’s “why are they watching our every move”? But each time they make the news, it seems like it’s something bigger and ultimately worse than the last time. At least from a service perspective, that is. MoviePass is now introducing what they’re calling “Demand Pricing”, and it’s making many consumers unhappy. This is coming just a day after AMC announced that they were launching their own theatre subscription service. In addition, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe announced that a number of changes would be coming to the “movie-a-day” service.
The biggest change that has been introduced is the introduction of surge pricing, or as Lowe describes it “high demand” pricing. Which means, at certain times, certain films would have additional charges. For example, you wouldn’t necessarily be able to go and see a movie on opening weekend of a big name film. While not a lot of money, you will be required to pay $2 more for “popular” movies. Lowe said that MoviePass hopes this will help theaters bring in more mid-week business for blockbuster films. But of course its also to help chip away at the tremendous losses the company is incurring as it pays theaters full price for tickets for every ticket. Surge pricing will be coming sometime in July.
If you’re a MoviePass member, you would have received this information in your email:
Peak Pricing: MoviePass is committed to maintaining our low monthly price as we continue to grow rapidly. Rather than raise our prices or limit viewings, our plan has been to develop a new variable pricing system based on the demand for particular showtimes. Under this plan, if the combination of demand for a title, date or part of day is higher, subscribers may be asked to pay a small additional fee depending on the level of demand. You can avoid this peak surcharge by choosing an alternative date or film. We will also soon give subscribers one “peak pass” per month, allowing them to waive a Peak Price surcharge once per month. Annual and Quarterly subscribers will not incur peak pricing until their current subscription term ends and then renews.
But that’s not to say that all changes are bad. There is a “bring a friend” option, which will roll out in August. This feature will allow you to add on another ticket, making it easier to select seating where that option is available and ensure that you’ aren’t purchasing a showing that will be sold out by the time your friend purchases their ticket separately. Also coming in August will be the ability to purchase tickets for Imax or Real 3D screenings.
The problem with the surge pricing is that you’re potentially going to be going back to paying “full price” for a movie ticket. Sure, it might only cost you $2 more, but if you only go to one movie a month, then you’re already up to $12 for that ticket. So is it really worth it? I guess the catch with MoviePass is that you need to go more than once a month. That said, people genuinely love MoviePass, so the alternative is to not have it. It’s interesting that other movie theaters are promoting their own kind of system to rival MoviePass. It makes me wonder if people will continue to use MoviePass or if it will become obsolete over the next year or so.