Recent poor decisions not withstanding, the Netflix model of video rentals seems to work pretty well for people (and for them.) Netflix was very profitable thanks to that innovative subscription-based system. And now, MoviePass wants to introduce a similar subscription method to the movie theater biz. But not everything has gone as smoothly for them as they had originally hoped it would.
MoviePass started gaining press around the summer. The functionality is reality simple. Search for a film, select a time, go to the theater. They tried partnering with select theaters in the San Francisco area for a beta testing on the site over the summer and then their plans were unexpectedly interrupted. Apparently, the movie theaters weren't too keen on their plans and outright said they would not accept their tickets.
MoviePass then decided to restructure their approach. They came back from a temporary hiatus partnered with the Hollywood Movie Money. Over 36,000 theaters nationwide were included in the deal and they would receive payment for the full ticket price directly from Hollywood Movie Money. And they're beginning to roll out the service on an invite only basis.
The original cost was a staggering $50 a month, working out to $600 a year. Based on a $10 ticket price, that is a lot of movies per month that you would need to see to even break even. There were talks of introducing a limited $30 subscription plan as well. There were other restrictions that were first introduced during the initial run from MoviePass and might be revised by now. But 3D and Imax films were an additional charge. And you can only watch the same film once under the plan. Additional viewings would be the normal ticket price.
So is it worth it? With limited theater availability and a prohibitively expensive monthly charge, it seems as only cinephiles would be interested. We think if they were to knock the price down to $25 or so, a ton of people would jump on board. Because really, don't the theaters already make a ton of money from the food and drinks they sell at the theater?