MoviePass is going all in in its efforts to boost membership in its movie-theater subscription service, announcing Friday a drop in its monthly price from $9.95 to $6.95 for “a limited time.”
The new cut-rate fee — available only to new subscribers — is substantially lower than the $8.97 average ticket price in U.S. theaters last year.
MoviePass has more than 2 million subscribers who pay a monthly fee to be able to see up to one movie per day in theaters, with roughly 91 percent of U.S. theaters available for its members.
“Our vision has always been to make the movie going experience easy and affordable for anyone, anywhere,” MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe said in a statement. “With the current growth and support that we’ve seen within the last several months, our studio and exhibitor revenues and other marketing partnerships have motivated us to lower the price once again, offering movie lovers greater access to MoviePass.”
But the company has met with strong resistance from the exhibition community, who worry that the company’s business model is unprofitable — and perhaps doomed to collapse — which could depress moviegoing even further once bargain-hunting subscribers are asked to pay for full-price tickets once again down the line.
Lowe has said MoviePass’ goal is to build its subscriber base as quickly as possible — the company aims for 3 million subscribers by this summer — and then leverage that audience to try to renegotiate for more cuts of popcorn and drinks revenue. The company already has a concessions deal with some chains.
But MoviePass has also had some bumpy patches, including consumer complaints about long delays in bringing new subscribers into the service.
And dropping the monthly fee for new subscribers only risks alienating the fledgling company’s existing customer base.
MoviePass also made headlines last month for removing 10 AMC theaters from its ticket distribution app without notifying customers, escalating tensions with the national theater chain.
The company raised $25 million in convertible debt earlier this year from a fund managed by Hudson Bay Capital Management LP. In February, Moviepass’ parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics, a data technology service, increased its ownership stake to 78 percent of the company.