Record high movie theater ticket prices haven’t deterred die-hard movie buffs from heading to the theatre to see new releases (the latest Star Wars film has made 745.4 million USD at the box office so far) but they’ve certainly turned the outing into a major expense. Because of surging ticket prices, theatre companies have been forced to switch up the movie watching experience in order to compete with popular streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu.
Tearing out old seats and replacing them with electronically powered luxury recliners is one way that theatre companies have helped lure patrons to the theater. Even so, with a national ticket average of $8.95, additional tax, and $3-$5 3D and IMAX surcharges, the cost of an evening showing can set you back around 18.00 a ticket in some places. When you factor in snacks, the cost for a family of four to go to the movies can hit just around $100.
MoviePass, a movie-ticket-a-day subscription service, is an alternative way for regular movie-goers to get insanely good deals on their tickets. For 9.95 a month, subscribers can see one movie every day for the cost of a single ticket. As of December 20th, the service hit over 1 million subscribers, shaking up the theater industry.
This should be good news for business but because the company pays back theatre owners the full price of a ticket, up to $18.00, MoviePass has been grappling with deficits. With such a huge subscriber base, the pressure is on for the company to start bringing in profits.
MoviePass has made moves to rake in more profits by signing a marketing and performance based revenue deal with an independent movie distributor. According to Globe NewsWire,
“Under terms of the agreement, MoviePass will provide active marketing services to a particular title and will earn revenue based on the incremental increase in ticket prices demonstrated in the theatrical release of the film.”
MoviePass recently promoted Amazon Studio’s ‘Last Flag Flying’ underneath the deal and saw a 53.3% increase in ticket sales. This was a huge marketing win for the company and it gave distributors a chance to evaluate how MoviePass tickets balanced against overall ticket costs. Further marketing campaigns, including content marketing campaigns, could expand the company’s subscriber base and attract more advertisers to the platform.
Currently MoviePass does not honor 3D or IMAX showings and you can’t reserve your seat in advance at most locations. The app, available on IOS and the Play Store, requires you to sign up for a MoviePass Mastercard debit card that the company reloads for you based on which movie you pick. Once you have your movie picked and your card loaded up with the correct amount of funds, you can head to the theatre with your MoviePass card and redeem your tickets there.
While MoviePass doesn’t offer the convenience of mobile ticket ordering systems like Fandango, it does give subscribers a huge discount on standard films. As the app develops, they may extend their ticketing capabilities.
Whether or not MoviePass is able to bring in enough profits to stay afloat, the idea of a subscriber based ticket system has piqued the interest of AMC and Cinemark. Earlier this December, Cinemark began offering customers an 8.99 monthly service that lets subscribers see one movie a month. If theatre companies like Regal and AMC start experimenting with subscription based movie tickets in 2018, companies like MoviePass could face stiff competition. However, with a plan to implement further marketing campaigns and with an already huge subscriber base, there may be a future still for MoviePass.