MoviePass, at one time the best deal to ever hit modern cinema, is struggling. The service that once promised a movie a day for less than $10 a month had 3 million subscribers at its peak. But now it has been forced to retool its concept amid staggering financial losses and, as a result, a hemorrhaging of its membership.
The company’s rise and fall has been fascinating, mostly because the concept was good at the outset: theaters often have empty seats, and finding new ways to fill those seats is valuable even if the price per ticket is lower than usual as a result of a subscription model. But MoviePass’s biggest problem was not its popularity or its price. The issue was that the companies that own theaters — and by extension, control the box office — weren’t controlling the way MoviePass worked.
The biggest indication that the model is good comes from a Variety report about the overwhelming success of AMC Stubs A-List, the subscription service the movie theatre giant built to rival MoviePass. Less than a year after the debut of the $19.95 a month service, which nets subscribers three movies a week of any kind at any AMC theater, the number of subscribers who have upgraded their memberships or signed up fresh from MoviePass accounts of their own has been staggering.