Back in 2011, Stacy Spikes and Hamet Watt had an idea that would help moviegoers save a lot of money while getting to see all of the films they wanted on the big screen. It was called MoviePass, and at first gave customers three films per month for a low fee. MoviePass was a small operation at first, and many had to be invited to join the subscription service.
Then, things changed in the summer of 2017 that made MoviePass explode onto the market. They offered one movie with the pass per day, and the monthly fee was just under $10. That means you could potentially see 31 different movies in theaters, which on average would be $279 worth of movies for just $9.95. Fans flocked to the service quickly, knowing that it wasn’t likely to be sustainable.
It didn’t take long for MoviePass to start losing money after their service, and they only made it even more affordable. By 2018, those that paid annually instead of monthly were getting MoviePass for as low as $6.95 per month. After just a couple of months of this low price, MoviePass had to change their structure so that customers received three movies per month instead of one per day. This caused a lot of cancellations and millions in lost revenue.
In the summer of 2019, it seemed that MoviePass was dead in the water. They announced to their customers that they were suspending services, and many said that it was the final nail in the coffin. Not only had they been facing financial problems, but they were also facing a class action lawsuit from customers that had bought the lower prices, claiming that it was a bait-and-switch tactic when the services were changed.
So while MoviePass might be out of commission, they did still make an impact for the moviegoer. Theater chains realized that customers wanted a service where they could pay a monthly fee to save money, and thus go to the movies more often. Theaters listened, and many started to unveil similar plans of their own. AMC theaters, Alamo Drafthouse and Regal Cinema came up with plans that have proved to be fruitful.
AMC alone landed 800,000 customers in their first year of the MoviePass-esque service that costs a maximum of $24 per month and allows for three movies per week, including new releases. It’s all thanks to MoviePass, the wacky idea that almost everyone had correctly predicted would fail, but gave cinema fans the opportunity to save money at the largest theater chains in the United States.