MoviePass is going to introduce surge pricing on popular movies by July
- MoviePass will launch a "high-demand" added price to its subscribers beginning in July for movies the app deems popular.
- By the end of August, it will also launch a bring-a-friend option and premium option to see movies in IMAX or Real 3D.
- MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe told Business Insider that AMC's recently announced monthly subscription plan was funny because the president of AMC told "everybody that our subscription was not sustainable, and then he comes out with a program that essentially could cost him $60 or $80 a month to pay the studios their minimums."
By the end of the summer, you'll see some major changes to your MoviePass subscription - and you're not going to like them all.
The movie-theater subscription service told Business Insider that by August, members of the service will be able to add a friend when buying tickets through the app and will have the option, at an added price, to order tickets to IMAX and Real 3D movies.
However, the first change to the service will happen in the coming weeks when MoviePass will start charging members what CEO Mitch Lowe calls "high-demand" pricing.
The added charge to members will range from $2 to higher for titles the app deems very popular with MoviePass subscribers, according to Lowe.
"At certain times for certain films - on opening weekend - there could be an additional charge for films," Lowe told Business Insider.
So don't be surprised if for that next Marvel movie, you will have to pay a couple dollars more. Lowe said this decision was a way to have its theaters partners see more traffic for big blockbusters in the mid-week and less-crowded weekends following the movie's opening weekend. Also to "make sure that we can continue to offer a valuable service and support the whole enterprise," Lowe added.
Two other features will roll out later in the summer: a bring-a-friend option, which the company has been toying with for some time, and a premium price option to see IMAX or Real 3D.
With bring-a-friend, there will be an option on the app for MoviePass subscribers to add on a ticket for a non-MoviePass moviegoer. The price of that added ticket will cost "somewhere near the retail price of the ticket," Lowe said. The app will then allow the MoviePass user to choose a seat for both people if assigned seating is available in a theater.
Lowe said eventually you will be able to do both a premium and bring-a-friend options for the same movie, but for the launch it will be a choice between one or the other. He added that by the end of August, all these features will be available on the app.
Lowe also said that subscribers who signed up for the annual plan will not be subject to "high-demand" pricing and can opt out of the bring-a-friend or premium price features if they don't want them. However, going forward, subscribers of the monthly plan will see the three new additions.
The new features comes on the heels of the news Wednesday that AMC Theatres, the largest theater chain in the world, is launching its own monthly subscription plan, AMC Stubs A-List, which for $20 a month you can see three movies a week, including IMAX or Real 3D titles.
Lowe said the news "validates that subscription is really here to stay."
Though Lowe had a positive tone, MoviePass' Twitter handle didn't seem so welcoming that AMC was "jumping on board the movie subscription train." "We want to make movies more accessible, they want more profit," a tweet read.
"It's been tough when you have the president of AMC essentially for eight or nine months telling everybody that our subscription was not sustainable, and then he comes out with a program that essentially could cost him $60 or $80 a month to pay the studios their minimums and collecting $19.95," Lowe said, referring to AMC CEO Adam Aron. "So it is a little bit kind of funny that it's pretty clear what he wanted to do - clear the way for his own subscription program and not have competition."
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