MoviePass stops selling tickets to major releases

Lloyd Doyle
August 1, 2018

After announcing it will be drastically limiting which movies you can see with MoviePass and drastically reducing the number of theaters that are supported, how about a price hike?

The company's 3 million subscribers won't be able to see shark thriller "The Meg" and Winnie-the-Pooh fantasy "Christopher Robin" - two of the most anticipated movies of the summer - with their MoviePass card in the coming weeks. The report follows complaints from subscribers alleging that they were unable to get tickets for some major titles, such as the new Mission Impossible movie. "Our community has shown an vast amount of enthusiasm over the past year, and we trust that they will continue to share our vision to reinvigorate the movie industry", said Mitch Lowe, MoviePass CEO in a statement.

Things started going south rather quickly for the company.

Worse yet, first run movies opening on "1,000+ screens" will be "limited in their availability" during the first two weeks unless otherwise made available on a promotional basis. The company will also raise the price of a subscription by 50 percent to $14.95 per month. "We believe that the measures we began rolling out last week will immediately reduce cash burn by 60% and will continue to generate lower funding needs in the future".

While it appears MoviePass decision to limit blockbuster movies is to save money, the company insists it is also to help subscribers discover smaller, less advertised films.

The news of reduced admissions could be a potentially fatal blow for MoviePass. Earlier this month, stock prices of their parent company Helios & Matheson plummeted. MoviePass wasn't ideal, but ostensibly, they were trying to make the movie-going experience accessible to everyone, and were met with angry entitlement.

MoviePass has made clear that Mission: Impossible - Fallout will be made "available in the future", but gave no indication as to when that might be. And MoviePass says it is actively working on "additional tactics" to keep people from "abusing its service". But that hasn't proved to be a money-making business model, prompting MoviePass to start charging an extra fee for popular movies. For example, you can't ever find Game of Thrones on Netflix, nor is Season 4 of Schitt's Creek available there yet.

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