MoviePass is doing bad. Real bad. There’s no doubting that the trailblazing service is all but out the door at this point. It did, however, accomplish one central task before catastrophically coming undone: It successfully disrupted the theater industry.
There can be no two minds about that. The only problem is that MoviePass didn’t figure out how to actually make money off the whole deal. But on their grave we may dance as competition between theater chains heat up surrounding their own subscription plans.
AMC has its service, which has been a big success, offering three tickets a week for $20 a month. That’s a fine deal, which has evidently put the screws to Regal, as it intends to come out of the gates swinging with a plan that offers unlimited tickets for a comparable monthly price.
For $18 – $23 (depending on your location) a month, you can watch as many films as you want on a standard screen. You’ll also get 10% off concessions (making that $5 bottle of water $4.50) and free popcorn on your birthday. Cool, I guess. You will, however, pay extra for 3D or IMAX, and you won’t be able to get tickets for two films with overlapping times.
That’s a solid deal, though I’m not sure if it’s different enough to take any subscribers away from AMC, especially since a lot of people aren’t lucky enough to have a variety of theaters in their area. The unlimited tickets plan is a clear shot at striking some of that MoviePass lightning and will be sure to entice people who basically live in theaters. For most, I imagine that seeing three movies a week will get the same mileage as unlimited usage.
I’m a lucky boy who does have a choice in where to spend my theater dollar, and though I have an AMC that’s closer, my Regal is much swankier, so I’d go with this–especially since it is a smidge cheaper. Got to save that dollar, so I can spend it on a quarter of a pack of Skittles!
The plan is set to be officially announced in the coming days, and I don’t know how much this will enforce competition. I can see each chain having its own set service and that being that, but I still think they’re leaving a lot of potential money on the table (perhaps on purpose) by not including couples or family plans. I’ve said this a bunch, but it’s worth mentioning that a family of four paying the same monthly price to see one movie a week would jump on something like this, and couples would likely do the same for even just two movies a week. Now, theaters might not want to give that market a discount as kids will undoubtedly drag their parents to a movie no matter what, and movies are a great way to go on a date with someone you don’t want to talk to. If there’s one thing that the Coke commercial with the two kids touching hands teaches us, it’s that theaters are the best way to demonstrate love.
Hopefully this won’t be the end of the line, leading to more stagnation until another MoviePass martyrs itself for the good of the entire movie-going public–but knowing theaters it probably will be.