MoviePass made waves recently when the company dropped the price of its movie ticket service to a bargain basement $9.95 a month. AMC Theaters made it clear it do not support the change, and now the company has begun to take steps against the service. Apparently, MoviePass users in the Denver and Boston markets can no longer use MoviePass to purchase e-tickets to any AMC theaters in those areas.
An email sent to MoviePass users in those markets, announces this change. Luckily, it only impacts the purchase of e-tickets, and normal ticket purchasing is unaffected. This shows that AMC has begun to follow through on the company's earlier statement that it would investigate ways to prevent MoviePass from being used at AMC-owned theaters. While the theater chain can't really cease doing business with MoviePass entirely without ceasing to do business with Mastercard, outlets can stop letting people purchase tickets online. Per Slashfilm, in at least two places the company has now done that.
In the grand scheme of things, this shouldn't be a major blow to MoviePass. Most movie theaters don't use the e-ticket system, which essentially works like any other online ticket buying service. If your local theater was regularly crowded, or offered reserved seating, and allowed for use of the e-ticket, it could be quite convenient, but anybody can still walk right up to the box office and buy tickets at AMC theaters using MoviePass, so this is a stop gap measure at best.
Still, it does prove that AMC is serious. This is probably only the first step in the theater chains plan to prevent MoviePass users from getting into their theaters. As the largest theater chain in the U.S., if AMC is able to ultimately keep MoviePass out, that certainly will have an impact on the subscription service as a whole.
Ultimately, the real question about the feasibility of MoviePass at the $9.95 price point may come from MoviePass itself. At that price point, it will only take one or two movies a month for MoviePass to be spending more on its customers than the company is taking in with subscription fees. The pricing doesn't seem sustainable. We're assuming there's an alternative revenue stream here, or the plan to offer additional features in the future at an upcharge, but as it currently stands it looks like unless a bunch of people sign up for MoviePass and then never use it, which we're sure is part of the expectation, MoviePass is going to have problems.
We'll keep watching this as the battle with MoviePass will surely heat up. A lot of additional users jumped at the new lower price and now we'll begin to see how the situation begins to actually take shape in the marketplace.