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.
According to numbers Variety shared, AMC Stubs now has 800,000 subscribers, more than 50 percent higher than where AMC thought the service would be by June.
AMC Theatres’ Stubs A-List program, which allows customers to see three movies a week for $19.95 a month, has hit 800,000 subscribers.
That figure is well ahead of the original projection, announced last June, for 500,000 subscribers by the end of its first year. According to AMC, the program is now the No. 1 moviegoing subscription service in North America.
Variety noted that MoviePass, meanwhile, currently has around 225,000 subscribers, giving Stubs nearly four times the membership numbers as the company AMC was initially competing against. It’s a long fall from grace for MoviePass, which now allows subscribers to see three movies a month at $9.95, as well as other options — all of which are a far cry from its hyper-popular movie a day model.
Conversely, the success of AMC Stubs A-List — and likely the amount moviegoers have used it to see IMAX, 3D and other more expensive movies — has caused AMC to raise prices in certain markets as it nears a full year of the service. But it’s clear what AMC is doing with the program and its mobile app is working, and the frustrations many MoviePass subscribers endured with service blackouts and abrupt changes to their plans were enough to put them in the hands of the theaters MoviePass hoped to work within the first place.