AMC Theatres Seeks to Block New MoviePass Subscription Plan

The theater chain says it will consult with attorneys on how to stop the MoviePass program, which it says is is “not in the best interest of moviegoers”

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AMC Theatres announced in a statement on Tuesday that it will consult with its attorneys on possibly preventing MoviePass’ recently announced $9.95/month subscription plan from being accepted at their theaters, saying the plan is “not in the best interest of moviegoers, movie theatres and movie studios.”

“AMC believes that holding out to consumers that first run movies can be watched in theatres at great quantities for a monthly price of $9.95 isn’t doing moviegoers any favors,” the chain said. “In AMC’s view, that price level is unsustainable and only sets up consumers for ultimate disappointment down the road if or when the product can no longer be fulfilled.”

“Therefore, AMC will not be able to offer discounts to MoviePass in the future, which seems to be among their aims.”

On Tuesday morning, MoviePass announced a new subscription plan that would allow subscribers to see any movie of their choice once per day at participating theaters for $9.95/month, excluding premium formats like 3D and IMAX. The introduction of the new plan was accompanied by news that analytics company Helios and Matheson had purchased a majority stake in MoviePass for $27 million, money which will be used to roll out the budget subscription plan nationwide.

MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe told TheWrap that their analysis had found that moviegoers who already went to cinemas at least once a month were their primary subscriber base, and that they were introducing the cheaper subscription plan to attract consumers who only go to theaters for major tentpole releases or during the holidays.

“What we really wanted to do was to excite the people who go 4-6 times a year and get them to go 12 times a year,” Lowe said. “So when we asked people whether they would buy in at $14.95, we got a big but not a huge percentage that said ‘I absolutely will do that.’ At $9.95, everything changed. It was like night and day.”

But AMC says that the nationwide average ticket price at its theaters is $9.33, and estimates that with this new plan, it will lose money on subscribers who watch more than one movie per month.

“AMC also believes that promising essentially unlimited first-run movie content at a price below $10 per month over time will not provide sufficient revenue to operate quality theatres nor will it produce enough income to provide film makers with sufficient incentive to make great new movies.”

“While AMC is not opposed to subscription programs generally, the one envisioned by MoviePass is not one AMC can embrace. We are actively working now to determine whether it may be feasible to opt out and not participate in this shaky and unsustainable program.”