“We have altered the deal. Pray that we do not alter it further.”
Following MoviePass, the beleaguered in-theater movie subscription service, has been quite the rollercoaster. Initially, it seemed too good to be true, but people signed up in droves. Some even wondered if MoviePass was the panacea the moviegoing industry was looking for. However, as time went on, it became clear the business model was not sustainable, and MoviePass has been experimenting with several different ways to increase profits, including preventing users from seeing the same movie twice.
Then, during the release of Mission: Impossible: Fallout, MoviePass just straight-up ran out of money. The company had to scramble to find 5 million dollars just to turn the lights back on.
Now, the company has quietly announced a price hike and some further changes to the business model, Variety reports. The monthly subscription fee will increase from $9.99 to $14.95 over the course of the next 30 days, and moviegoers will be restricted from seeing “nearly all Hollywood blockbusters within their first two weeks of release,” in an effort to reduce the company’s cash burn rate by 60%.
MoviePass has been an unmitigated success from a pure customer excitement standpoint, ballooning from 20,000 subscribers to over 3 million once they reduced their monthly fee down to $9.99. However, many questions were raised at the time, and now it seems like the worst case scenario is playing out: It’s just not a sustainable business model. MoviePass hoped to stay afloat long enough to affect serious change in the entire theater industry, brute forcing their way to the top of the totem pole with a massive subscription count, not unlike how companies like Amazon or Wal-Mart dictate prices to manufacturers instead of the other way around. However, the road to get there is far bumpier than they would have liked.
That’s not to say $14.95 isn’t still a great deal — with the way ticket prices are now, that price point is still a steal assuming you see at least two movies a month. But with how volatile the nascent business has been, it’s hard to put much faith behind it. So enjoy it while you can, because with all these changes, who knows how long MoviePass will stay in business.