MoviePass’ $10-per-month movie theater subscription service has acquired 500,000 more subscribers just one month after it reached 1.5 million users. It also seems the fact that MoviePass cut off members’ access to some popular AMC theaters had little—if any—effect. The advantages of MoviePass are hard to deny: for $10 a month (an ongoing promotion even cuts the price down to $7.95), customers can see one 2D film a day, every day, without paying extra.
In 2017, members bought $110 million worth of tickets and generated an additional $146 million in ticket sales by bringing non-members to showings. MoviePass chief Mitch Lowe said in a statement: “We’re giving people a reason to go back to the movie theaters, and they’re going in droves. With awards season here, we hope we can make Hollywood and exhibitors very happy by filling seats with eager audiences.”
However, according to Bloomberg news, some people question the viability of this subscription service. Every time a member watches a movie, the service pays for that subscriber’s ticket at full price. It loses money for members that watch two movies a month, and its accountants apparently already warned the company that its system might not be viable in the long run. AMC shares the same sentiment and once called the business model unsustainable. It’s like turning “lead into gold,” the theater chain said in a statement last year.
So, how does MoviePass plan to make money if subscribers aren’t bringing in the cash? It’s hoping to sell ads, merchandise and data on moviegoers’ habits, as well as to get a cut of theaters’ refreshment sales as they go up from all the viewers it brings to cinemas. The company is also hoping to convince theater chains to sell it tickets for its members at a discounted rate.
Whether the strategy will work remains to be seen, When MoviePass was dropped by several AMC locations, it said it would continue to strive for mutually-beneficial relationships with” them. AMC chief Adam Aron, who has has been a vocal critic of the service, already proclaimed that the chain has no intention of sharing its admissions or concessions revenues.