Mitch Lowe, the big businessman who’s been involved in a number of shakeups for the cinema industry (Netflix, Redbox, etc) has now announced a new bombshell: MoviePass, a service that grants you unlimited visits to the theater for just $9.95 a month. It previously existed as a $50-a-month service, but the barrier to entry has been significantly lowered now.
This would save a crazy amount of money for the right type of consumer. If you don’t go out to the movies very often, MoviePass wouldn’t be a good deal. But for the movie nut it sounds excellent. How exactly it’s profitable is unclear. If the average movie costs $9.75 to see, MoviePass would already be losing money if the consumer sees two movies per month. Where could the profits possibly come from?
Well, as with most “free” or “close to free” offers out there, the real product is you. The actual point of MoviePass is to collect data on theater-goers: the kind of movies they prefer and how often they go out to see them. MoviePass can then sell this data to companies that need it. It’s the hope that the data will be valuable enough to write off the loss on the ticket end.
If you still want to try it, there’s also this wrinkle: MoviePass is an AMC offering, so if you don’t have an AMC theater near you (like anybody who lives in the entire Northwest portion of the United States, for starters), you can’t try this program out at all.
UPDATE: Apparently AMC found out about this the same time as the rest of us did, and now they’re furious. They are currently threatening to block MoviePass from doing this at all, or dump them altogether. Currently the program is active, but that may not last.