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MoviePass became a major force in the movie business after dropping its price last year. Since then, however, the subscription service has made a number of changes to the service and several more have now been officially announced. Over the last several days MoviePass subscribers have been receiving an email from the company which outlines three significant new changes to the service: peak pricing, a premium showings option, and the ability to bring a guest. Peak pricing is likely the most contentious change, as it means that standard subscription price may not cover the cost of tickets going forward. According to MoviePass...
Under this plan, if the combination of demand for a title, date or part of day is higher, subscribers may be asked to pay a small additional fee depending on the level of demand. You can avoid this peak surcharge by choosing an alternative date or film. We will also soon give subscribers one "peak pass" per month, allowing them to waive a Peak Price surcharge once per month.
The "peak pass" option will be a nice feature for those that don't go to movies at traditionally busy times but might do so from time to time. However, overall, the fact that MoviePass now has Uber-like surge pricing could cause some to reevaluate the value of the service on the whole. One nice addition to this is that if you pay for your MoviePass subscription annually or quarterly, peak pricing won't come into effect until after your next renewal, so you may have several months where you won't need to worry about it.
However, there's another place where a potential additional cost to MoviePass might be better received. While traditionally, MoviePass has only offered tickets to 2D movies that are not large-format theaters, the service will soon add the ability to purchase tickets to IMAX and 3D screenings for an additional fee.
MoviePass members on any plan will soon be able to access RealD 3D, IMAX 2D or 3D, and other Premium Large Format showings of any film for an additional upgrade fee.
Of course, the one thing that MoviePass fails to disclose is how much the additional fee will be for either of these new features. As long as the additional cost is low enough to still make the MoviePass subscription pay for itself most users probably won't mind, though that, of course, depends on how frequently you use it. If a MoviePass subscription with a 3D upgrade costs more than what the ticket would normally cost you, then MoviePass only becomes worthwhile if you plan to use it more than once per month. At this point, we don't really know how often most people who have the service actually use it.
Finally, MoviePass is adding a feature that will make the service a little more convenient for users who go to the movies with friends who don't have MoviePass. The new Bring-A-Guest feature will let you purchase additional tickets via the MoviePass app. This appears to be limited to the theaters that offer e-tickets via the app, but it means you can purchase reserved seats for you and your friends all at once to be sure you're sitting together.
With new competition coming for MoviePass' market share expect to see a lot of things change in the growing business of movie subscription services. A lot of different things will be tried to see what appeals to customers as well as where these services can make money without driving customers away.