MoviePass Test Suspended After Theater Complaints

The subscription test is put on hold after AMC, Landmark and others vow to fight the all-you-can watch service

The test run of the controversial Netflix-style subscription plan MoviePass has been suspended because of complaints from exhibitors, MoviePass president Stacy Spikes confirmed to TheWrap on Thursday evening.

"We've put it on temporary hold," Spikes said of the plan, which was to have given a limited number of moviegoers in the San Francisco area unlimited admissions to 21 local theaters for a flat rate of $50 a month.

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The beta test was launched this week with a test group that Spikes said consisted of fewer than 1,000 participants. It was halted after AMC Theatres, which controls six of the theaters on the list, announced that it had told its theaters not to accept passes from MoviePass. TheWrap first reported that a major theater chain was on the brink of this announcement Thursday. 

The CEO of another exhibitor, Landmark Theatres, which has another 10 of the theaters, told TheWrap that his company was looking at its contracts to see if it could refuse admission as well.

Camera Cinemas, with four theaters, also said it would not honor the passes – and the final theater on the list, the Big Cinemas Town 3 in San Jose, said like the others it had not been told about the program and had not agreed to participate.

Earlier in the day, Spikes told TheWrap that his company will pay each theater full price for every ticket redeemed by a MoviePass user, and that his research showed that the program would increase theater attendance and concession sales.

Exhibitors, though, were angry that they had not been consulted before the program was announced, and skeptical of an outside group setting prices for movie tickets.

Studio distribution executives also complained to TheWrap about the subscription plan.