02 August 2018 ~ 0 Comments

MoviePass Reivew – The Gift that Keeps on Taking: A Saga

I posted previously that I had signed up for MoviePass in March of 2018.  I received my card on April 2018 and things were great. Moviepass advertsied that for $9.95 a month you can see a movie in theaters every day, and as much as I expected to get to the theater and have the card declined, I actually was able to go see a 2d movie a day in any theater in town.  And I did.  It was a huge value to me as consumer but after going to four movies in a row, it became incredibly obvious that there was no way this could last.

I guess I didn’t expect it to be so soon, though, and on April 27th, hardly three weeks after receiving my card.  A new terms of service update was initiated that no longer allowed repeat viewings of movies.  The writing was on the wall at this point and I canceled my membership, though on an annual plan I still had a year left to use the service I had paid for.

At this point, it was no longer possible (in most markets) to actually see a movie a day as they advertised (and continue to advertise) due to the limited number of theaters and releases.  The change itself wasn’t that bothersome to me, but the fact that they changed the terms without notice (I still have yet to receive any sort of official notice of this change) that raised a huge red flag for me.

A little over a month later, In June, MoviePass announced a slew of new features.  The features were to allow an upgrade to imax or 3d films by just paying the difference in that theaters price.  They also announced a bring a friend option, which didn’t really include any discount but it was to make booking easier by allowing you to purchase multiple tickets on your moviepass card, and they would send a bill to your billing information on file.  Simple enough stuff that adds convenience and versatility to your moviepass subscription.

But there was one other “feature” ..peak pricing.  This “feature” meant that some showtimes and days would now have an additional charge billed to your account, and each member was allowed one “peak pass” per month that would raise the fee once per month.

Then July came around, and only one of these features was actually implemented: Peak Pricing.  The Peak Pass was never instituted, nor any of the other features, however the surcharges were.

Many members initially had no issues with this, as it was described it would just apply to a few showings on opening weekends and be a small amount.  However just two weeks into it and we began to see surcharges as high as $8 for ALL showings at ALL theaters at ALL times.

But our story doesn’t end here.

Thursday, July 26th the MoviePass experienced a “technical error” (their words, not mine) and people were no longer able to use the service. It became apparent by an SEC filing that MoviePass had ran out of money, following a 250:1 reverse stock split which brought their share price from a dismal 8 cents to $21, it was already losing more than 70% of it’s value daily.

MoviePass sent a filing to the SEC for an emergency demand note of $5 Million dollars to continue operation.  This loan was given with $1.2M of interest due in 5 days.  The service resumed Friday.. for a little bit.  By Friday night it was no longer working again.  It began to work briefly again on Saturday morning, but again, by Saturday night it was down again and Sunday there was no service at all.

The company has been funding itself by stock dilutions since August of last year, and did the same with it’s newly R/Sed stock, doubling the outstanding shares and continuing to fund the business.

Tuesday, July 31, they announced even more restrictions.  They announced that blockbusters would not be available using the app, that new releases would be limited, and that not all showtimes of movies will be available.

This came with showtime listings of early afternoons and late nights only available, and while that may be managable, they also are now removing showtimes throughout the day.  This has lead to many subscibers having showtimes available on the app when they leave their home, removed by the time they get to the theater.

Which leads us to today.  Today, there are four movies listed as available on my moviepass app.  Only 1 of the five new releases are available.  And of the few showtimes that are available, they are all facing a $6 surcharge.  Ever since thursday all showtimes have been cleared from the app by between 4pm and 7pm, so I expect that to remain true as well.

MoviePass was a great service for consumers that was doomed to fail, and then it did.  But not without making stark changes in the American Exhibitor Landscape, with both Cinemark and AMC releasing a subscription plan, Alamo running one in test markets, and rumors of Regal releasing one in the coming months.

 

That’s my moviepass story, share yours in the comments and thank you for stopping by 🙂