The battle between MoviePass and AMC Theaters has been ongoing ever since the subscription service dropped the price of its product. Regardless, after seemingly beginning to settle down, the fight is heating up once again. Last week, MoviePass removed some of AMC's largest theaters from being compatible with the MoviePass app. The largest US theater chain has now responded by making it clear that AMC had no part in this change, while also blasting MoviePass for making "false statements" about AMC, specifically in regards to MoviePass' contribution to AMC's bottom line. According to an AMC statement...
AMC has taken no action to block the acceptance of MoviePass at our theatres. We have no further comment about MoviePass's unilateral actions. We are, however, disappointed that MoviePass continues to make false statements about AMC, including today when MoviePass greatly exaggerated its contributions to AMC's profitability.
MoviePass' comments about AMC profitability were included in a statement gave to CinemaBlend regarding the removal of 10 major AMC theaters from the MoviePass service, including the Universal CityWalk location and major a major theater in New York City, among others. In the statement, the CEO of MoviePass' parent company, Ted Farnsworth, claimed that MoviePass represented 62% of AMC's operating income, and more when concession sales from MoviePass users were included. Thus, MoviePass was a major part of AMC's current business.
It appears MoviePass has taken the amount of money that they have spent on tickets to AMC theaters and extrapolated what percentage of AMC's total business that equates to. AMC is a publicly traded company and so a lot of financial information is public knowledge. However, according to AMC's response in Variety, it appears the theater chain is claiming that MoviePass has done some bad math because AMC says that the subscription service is not impacting the bottom line to the degree that is being claimed.
Ever since MoviePass dropped the monthly price of its service to $9.95 AMC has taken issue with the company. The company made it public that they were looking into ways to block the service from AMC theaters, but little action was ever taken in that regard. Up until last week, it appeared the two were engaged in some sort of cold war, as no action was being taken. Last week, however, things began to heat up.
MoviePass says that its users are not theater-loyal and thus removing these theaters from the service will simply cause subscribers to go to other theaters. If MoviePass' numbers regarding AMC business are accurate, removing 10 major theaters could have a material impact, though a small one, on AMC business, which was likely the point. If, however, AMC is right, and MoviePass is overestimating its own importance, then this might be little more than an annoyance for the theater chain.