Whether one views MoviePass as a saint, sinner or anything in between in the realm of moviegoing, it impacts on the summer box office and film community is irrevocable. From humble beginnings in 2011 to the divisive and ever-changing investment it has become, MoviePass has shaken things up in what tends to be an oversaturated market.
The concept for MoviePass is the first of its kind. Footing the bill to send audiences to multiple movies a week while asking for a pittance of the fees in return sounds insane, and it probably is. MoviePass reported huge losses but claimed to be using the same business strategy as major successful breakouts like Spotify or Netflix. The problem it, MoviePass had too good of a deal. It is understandable why investors were cautious.
But regardless of investor’s fears, MoviePass flourished over the summer.
Experts suggest MoviePass had a significant impact on the box office this year. The Los Angeles Time in their assessment of the 2018 summer box office cited the National Research Group who said MoviePass helped make it one of the most financially successful summers in a long time.
“Though cinema owners and studios are loath to admit it, the struggling MoviePass, which once offered a movie a day for less than $10 a month, probably boosted attendance, analysts said,” The LA Times reported. “People who used MoviePass went to the cinema six more times in the preceding six months than non-subscribers, National Research Group said in April.”
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the National Research Group study on MoviePass showed it was a favorite among subscribers.
“(Eighty-three) percent of MoviePass patrons — who can pay as little as $6.95 a month to see one film a day — are more satisfied with MoviePass than any other subscription service (think Netflix) and are seeing more movies than they did previously, as well as a more diverse offering.”
The impact the company had on the summer box office will be talked about for years. The summer 2018 box office rebounded significantly from the lackluster numbers of 2017. According to Box Office Mojo, numbers are up over $200 million from the 2017 summer season.
So why did the company receive so much gall?
MoviePass, as any unstable business model, was just trying to stay afloat. With the idea of getting big investors to jump on with the company and keep it afloat, the company charged out of the gate before making sure the time was right to strike.
The company kept changing the deal with every blockbuster that drained their accounts.
They changed the multiple movies a day allowance to one movie a day after Black Panther premiered. They adjusted their ticketing options after Avengers: Infinity War took a chunk out of its account, and they finally collapsed after Mission Impossible: Fallout ate into its revenues.
This left subscribers angry and without help. If MoviePass did not have enough cash, they were plum out of luck. Lack of customer support and constantly changing agreements aggravated fans and shooed away investors, leaving the company stranded with an empty promise.
I was amazed by the bitter outcry of subscribers on social media who felt cheated by the subscription. While the account was innocuously asking what the audiences were going to see today, the comment section was flooded with complaints and threats regarding the service.
MoviePass: “What’s everyone seeing today?”
Customer: “I’m seeing an unsustainable business model pissing off more and more customers as it begins to flail and panic.”
Regardless, MoviePass improved my summer experience.
Paying what a movie costs in my local theaters for a month’s worth of tickets is still too good to be true. Even at the plan of paying $10 for three movies a month and discounts is much better than shelling out $10 for one film.
Subscribing to MoviePass made sure I always had a good backup plan if I wanted to go out for the evening. It invited me to try films I had never considered going to before I subscribed and showed a lot of ambition and bravery in a highly-competitive entertainment media market.
MoviePass also paved the way for movie subscription services all around. AMC Stubs A-List, Sinemia, Cinemark Movie Club and Alamo Season Pass are just some of the services that have sprouted up because of the innovation and either bravery or stupidity of MoviePass.
The company made what seemed like a cut and dry market into something that challenged companies to offer the best services to their audiences.
Because of MoviePass, I was encouraged to explore theaters nearby that may have been more expensive or in far away locations. The saved money encouraged me to buy concessions and maybe splurge a little. It helped me to see many more films than I would have without it, and whether or not the company stays afloat, I’m glad for what I experienced.
As of now, it seems like the company will not make it through this year. With stock prices at an abysmal $0.02, MoviePass is going to have to pull off some movie magic to stay viable in the stock market.
With many leaders resigning from the company, it seems like MoviePass has served its purpose – to pave the way for more conservative plans to take its place.