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MoviePass: Great for Consumer; Bad for Business?

A price of $9.95 a month for nearly unlimited theater experiences seems almost too good to be true, but with MoviePass, this is reality.

MoviePass, originally founded in 2011, began as an attempt to make theatergoing a streamlined experience and help consumers cope with ever-increasing ticket prices. Originally offering ticket plans for around fifty dollars a month, MoviePass was bought by the analytics firm Helios and Mathiesen in August 2017. Soon after, MoviePass lowered their prices to its current plan, which is slightly less than ten dollars a month for one movie per day.

For PLNU students, this price point has provided a way for them to go to the theater more often. “Being a film major, I absolutely love going to the movies,” says Paige Adlhoch, a senior media communications major with a film concentration. “The smell, the trailers, that’s something you can’t get at home so now I can go to the theater literally whenever I want.”

This appreciation of the service is also shared by those who simply enjoy seeing films but have limited finances. “I don’t have to worry about paying so much and it makes going to the movies less stressful given my financial situation,” says Brianna Martin, a senior psychology major.

Students across the United States share the same positive sentiment. “It’s nice because it makes everything cheaper and it makes going to the movies an option for every night,” says Micah Hayworth of Northwestern University in Minnesota.

While there are seemingly no drawbacks for the consumer, theater chains have given some pushback to the service. Recently it was announced that the ten most visited AMC Theaters in the United States will no longer accept MoviePass, one of these theaters being the AMC Mission Valley 20.

According to staff at the AMC Mission Valley 20, “We’re in the top ten most visited AMC Theaters in the country and MoviePass took us off of their service. MoviePass wanted commissions on concessions and corporate said ‘no,’ so MoviePass punished AMC by removing several theaters.” Theater chains make a majority of their revenue on concessions with only a slight portion made on ticket sales.

On the individual consumer level, MoviePass is a great service. “There are no drawbacks,” says Hayworth, but some worry about the effect that this service will have on theaters. “It’s a little unsettling that the theaters aren’t necessarily making money when I use MoviePass, [but] I am not actually sure how that impacts the theaters,” says Martin.

While there is worry about the impact of services like MoviePass, theatergoing has seemingly been invigorated. “Overall, I am pumped I get to enjoy more movies than I have able to in the past,” says Martin.

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Scott Brown

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