MoviePass Hits One Million Subscribers

The New York Times reports:

MoviePass said this month that it had signed up more than one million subscribers in just four months. It took Netflix more than three years to reach that level when it started selling low-priced subscriptions for DVD rentals in 1999. Spotify was relatively quick, at five months in 2011. It took Hulu 10 months to reach one million later that year.

“We’re actually shocked,” Mr. Lowe said. “We seem to have hit a nerve in America.” Mr. Lowe and Ted Farnsworth, chief executive of Helios and Matheson Analytics, which bought a controlling stake in MoviePass in August for $27 million, celebrated the milestone by cheekily posing for photos at an AMC theater in Times Square.

Under the MoviePass business model, theaters get paid full price for every admission. People who sign up receive a membership card that functions like a debit card. When members want to see a movie (no more than one a day) they use a MoviePass smartphone app to check in at the theater. The app instantly transfers the price of a ticket to the membership card. Members in turn use the card to pay for entry. It all works independently of theaters, sometimes to their chagrin.

My initial post about MoviePass includes a video tutorial on how it all works.

  • Paul

    I’d never heard of this so i did a little looking around. It’s $9.99 a month for unlimited movies? How can that be? I just paid $16 to see THE POST and $15 to see FINDING VINCENT at theaters that are listed on the Movie Pass website. That’s $31 out of their pocket. How do they make money at this? What am I missing?

    • friendlynerd

      I think they are counting on people signing up and not using it. It may not be sustainable long term but I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

      • Hue-Man

        = gym memberships in March!

    • romanhans

      Remember Flooz? It was an internet startup that gave people money. They gave me a few hundred so I was quite sad when their business model proved unsustainable. Apparently if you give away money, you lose money.

      These folks will realize that in about four seconds, but if I were in the U.S. I’d sign up for it NOW.

      • marshlc

        Yeah, me too. It looks like it’s not available where I am, though.

  • TexasBoy

    It is an interesting idea, but the only AMC theater near me I have to pay a lot for parking since it is inside a touristy mall on the San Antonio river, so I go to other theaters.

    • Jeremy

      It’s not just AMC. Moviepass gives you a debit card to use at most major theater chains.

  • Gayer Than Thou

    I dunno – I think the subscription model is generally great for businesses and lousy for consumers.

    • friendlynerd

      What’s not to know? If you go to one movie a month this pays for itself. In my area it more than pays for itself, as no ticket is under $10.

      • Gayer Than Thou

        That “if” is what makes all subscriptions more favorable for businesses than consumers. That’s all. For individual consumers, what is essentially a gamble is worth making because they will see at least a movie a month (or whatever product or service is being offered on a subscription basis). But subscriptions would not be an attractive business model if all consumers use more than they pay for.

        • marshlc

          That’s within the consumer’s control, though. I agree that this business model works because people sign up for it and then don’t use it, but there is really nothing forcing them to be foolish with their money.

          • Gayer Than Thou

            No, indeed: there isn’t anything forcing people to subscribe – but I didn’t say there was.

          • marshlc

            No, of course. But I was really commenting on subscribing and then not using, as being foolish.

            Personally, I tend to use passes as ways to give myself a little nudge to do things I want to do but need some encouragement about. My rec centre pass gets me to the gym and the pool, because if I don’t use it, it’s like throwing money away. I’d use something like this the same way – I like to go to the movies, but I often get lazy and don’t want to make the effort of opening my own front door, in the evening. A pass would be like a whisper in my ear saying “You gave them ten dollars this month, for nothing….” that would give me enough of a nudge to get me out the door.

          • Gayer Than Thou

            I guess the real question is whether I’d see enough movies at this time of year – when I see most of the movies I see – to offset the months in which there’s only drek in the theaters. Possibly. The backstory is I’m cranky about subscriptions because certain software I use a lot has switched to a subscription model. My employer pays, so it’s nothing out of my wallet, but if my employer ever stops paying (or if I ever retire), I’ll lose access to those files unless I start paying the subscription myself.

  • Butch

    The nearest movie theater to me is 35 miles away, so I never make the trip, but…..yet another cultural event has escaped my notice completely. I am so out of it I’m almost embarrassed.

    • AtticusP

      You’re not alone. This is the first I’ve heard of MoviePass..

    • Ragnar Lothbrok

      Same here.
      Except, I am so out of it I’m almost proud.

      • Butch

        Yeah, actually I’m a little proud of it too, but I was trying to be modest.

  • Ragnar Lothbrok

    Unless it streams a movie into my home, It has zero value to me

    • Gustav2

      The only reason we went to a movie theater in the last couple of years is we got two free tickets.

    • Dayglo

      I love to be immersed in a big screen movie. I hate the incessant talking, cellphones and that crushingly unfunny M&Ms ad some theaters have been running for over four fucking years now.

      • Paul

        That’s why I love love love assigned seating. I buy my ticket online, get an aisle seat and show up 10 minutes past the announced start time, just as the previews are ending. No more having to arrive 30-45 minutes early to avoid being in the front row

  • Mike C

    I love it. I use it a minimum of once a month and it’s paid for itself. NYC multiplex tickets are $17.50. Of course, we all know the $9.99 price is absolutely unsustainable but I’m having fun while it lasts. They’re basically paying me to watch movies – and after sitting through Downsizing yesterday I think I deserve it!

    • Daveed_WOW

      I was going to skip Downsizing, but since I have the MoviePass, I’ll take a chance. Matt Damon has been making my skin crawl these days.

      • friendlynerd

        It’s…OK. I won’t discourage anyone from seeing it but it’s not as good as I’d hoped. If I’d paid for it I’d be more disappointed, but…MoviePass.

      • I would still do Matt Damon. Bring him over.

      • Javier Smith

        Downsizing is fun but I think the director kind of lost his way several times through.

    • Scott MB

      I joined in the end of Nov, since then I have seen 27 movies. I am was a Diamond Regal Crown Club member very quickly. It has been a saving grace for me since I am disabled and unabke to work. Being abke to pay $9.99/mo and get me out of the house almost everyday has done wonders for my depression. My hubby just got his on 12/23 and it has already paid for itself with us seeing four movies together on his 10 day xmas shutdown.

      If you don’t have ine yet…what are you waiting for?!?

    • I live in Florida. I pay $5.00 to see first run movies before 6 pm, and $6.00 other times. And that is for everyone, not just seniors. Move to slower parts of the Sunbelt.

      • GeoffreyPS

        Three words: humidity, mosquitos, evangelicals.

    • Dayglo

      Me, too. If a movie is crap, you can always walk out at that price. Within the last four days I’ve seen “Darkest Hour” “I, Tonya” and “All the Money in the World”… all good films. And “Jumanji.” I’d never would dream of seeing a movie like “Jumanji” at full price.

      • Was Darkest Hour good? We are going tomorrow. I saw Greatest Showman yesterday and it was four star (out of five) but see it on a big screen- it is a gorgeous film. Give it five stars if you are a huge fan of Zac Efron or Hugh Jackman, they both sing really well- and are handsome as hell of course in the film. They don’t make musicals like this anymore. The movie of the season for me was still Lady Bird.

        • Paul

          THE DARKEST HOUR was good, but i had trouble understanding all the dialog. in NY, there is one showing a day with open captions, which if I get my MoviePass, I may go back and see again. Can’t tell if it’s the damn British or my damned poor hearing.

          • It’s Churchill’s mumbling plummy 30’s British with that cigar in his mouth, they can’t even understand it. Oldman did a good job I heard.

        • Dayglo

          “Darkest Hour” surprised me. I had expected another paint-by-numbers biopic but it was much better than that. And exciting!

    • Publius

      I love it too. Ticket prices here in Seattle hover around $12-15 for a decent cinema so $9.95 is a great deal. I also think about how unsustainable this is. I don’t think the pass will go away, but I am prepared for a nominal hiked fee, which I think would be reasonable.

      Saw Downsizing last night. The ending ruined my life.

  • Todd20036

    I rarely go to movies because people don’t know how to behave in a theatre.

    And unlike when I was a kid, you can watch the movie on PPV very shortly after its released.

    But maybe this will force movie theaters to reduce their ticket prices.

    • Try going to the movies in the UK, and try sitting through the talking in an expensive movie theatre (note my r) in London. There is no movie audience as noisy as a Brit movie audience. Blab blab blab with phones ringing, expensive tickets, yada yada, yada. I gave up going out to movies – I lived there for 15 years. Dutch movie goers were pretty quiet during the films – I also lived there for a while.

    • Paul

      I went to see THE POST last night. Full house, mostly adults (not really a kid picture). The audience behaved very well. No phones, no talking. When Streep mulled the decision whether or not to publish the Pentagon Papers (no spoilers, we all know how it turned out) there was complete silence in the theater, followed by enthusiastic applause. THAT’S why I prefer going to the theater to see a movie.

      • JCF

        At least you GOT to see “The Post”. Doesn’t make it to Sacra-tomato until (Argh!) January 12th (so much for holiday movie season huh?)

  • Gustav2

    OT:

    I just can’t understand why our furnace is running almost continuously…

    • BlackGayVeganAtheist

      Do you have adequate insulation in your roof area…at least 6-8 inches…yes I said that…or is it just SO cold

      • Gustav2

        We doubled the size of our living space when we bought the place, but the utilities halved…the insulation is good.

        It should get up to balmy 15 degrees today

        • BlackGayVeganAtheist

          Other snafus such as a shorted thermostat wire can also cause the A/C or warm air furnace fan to run continuously.

          At the furnace or air conditioner air handler or blower unit: the fan limit switch may include a switch that manually keeps the fan running. …

          Take a look at the fan limit control switch.

        • Butch

          Up to 15? We were at minus 14 this morning. Luckily we have a wood stove in the living room but we still need to run the furnace to keep the pipes from freezing, and the heat bulbs in the chicken coop (we have baby chicks that need to be kept at a certain temperature) are also adding considerably to the heating bills.

      • Michael White

        Yes we do and we also replaced our windows. Our electric company compares our home with similiar age and size homes and we are always way more efficient than our neighbors. When we bought our furnace we also replaced our AC

    • Michael White

      Mine is averaging about every 8 minutes. We keep it at 68. Thanks goodness we replaced our furnace about 8 yrs ago and went 93% efficient. But it will play havoc with my natural gas budget.

      • jeffg166

        I assume big heating bills in winter. This year the thermostat got pushed up to 68. We’ve lived with 62 for years. Old age requires the move. Usually only the January bill was the big bill for the year. This year it may be January and February.

    • I have my AC on. It is 78 outside and I need to drop it down just a notch. Although that might sound nice to you I have the Trump-hole and his family staying down the road at douche-a-lago tying up traffic and I want snow.

      • Gustav2

        We will get more snow Sat morning, so far we have had only a dusting. We don’t get as much ‘lake effect’ in the center of Ohio.

        • I am serious. I really really want snow, it has been three years since I have seen any. The really cold weather (below 50 degrees fahrenheit) I can do without. I am considering a trip to see some but I need to buy something warmer than a leather jacket to wear – it is all I own.

          • Karl Dubhe 2

            If you get snow now, he’ll be stuck where you are for longer…

            😀

          • Gustav2

            No, even the diamonded dowagers will be out clearing the runway in West Palm to get him out of town.

          • Gustav2

            I spent one Christmas in Sarasota where is was 37 degrees Fahrenheit.

            For some reason I didn’t feel like walking the beach…

          • Wow it got that cold in Sarasota??? LOL All the Midwest minks!

          • Gustav2

            My parents had the usual one of each, lemon, lime and orange trees, I teased them they were growing frozen concentrate.

          • See Greatest Showman — if you liked the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. It is that Museum come to life in a musical – I think Hugh Jackman might be Best Actor for it (he is really that good).

          • Gustav2

            I haven’t been in the Ringling since the 1980’s

          • We went last year — Benja came over from Barcelona and we did a West Coast Florida loop — first time for me in Sanibel Island (gorgeous), Sarasota (looking for the cool downtown which does not exist, there is no there there but Ringling Museum is cool), downtown St. Pete and the Dali Museum (Dali is from Catalonia, St. Pete is super nice), Clearwater Beach (just OK), Frank Lloyd Wright Museum in Lakeland Florida (incredible), and back to Delray Beach – cool trip.

          • Gustav2

            You must have missed the 1/2 block of cool in DT Sarasota.

            One of their problems is the folks from the Midwest in the condos above who are not used the noise say a New Yorker might know. They still want suburbia in their high rise.

    • Treant

      I know why mine is running. It’s 15 degrees outside. My SiL just whined it was cold in here again (it’s seventy degrees) and pumped the furnace up to 73. It’ll shortly be 75 in the house, hotter in the den since the fireplace has been running for days as well.

      So it’s now 15 degress outside and she’s sitting around in light pants, T-shirt, and no socks and comfortable indoors. I’m frying.

      They leave today, at which point I’m thinking of setting it down to 64 just to actually feel a bit chilly for a while!

      • PickyPecker

        Mine is running because it is 5°F and snowing.

      • Gustav2

        “What I did for love….”

        • Treant

          “Fish and visitors stink after three days.” –Poor Richard

          Neither of us are good at disturbed schedules and constant demands.

          • Jwmvh

            I always say that about fish and visitors. When I visit friends I even ask if I’ve started to stink yet.

      • olandp

        Manopause can really be a bitch!

    • HandyAndy

      I feel your pain. We live in the lower FL Keys, but the husband’s family lives in Zanesville, OH, so we spend the last 2 weeks of December there every year for Christmas. I drove an elderly family member to the WalMart last night so she could buy next year’s Christmas wrapping paper on clearance. It was only 9 degrees outside during the trip, and I thought I was going to die. This morning, it was only 2 degrees when I let the dog out, and I was sure that hell had frozen over, and that I was in it.

      • Gustav2

        😉

    • Jwmvh

      I know what you mean. It was 42 degrees in my bedroom upstairs the night before last. I keep the vents closed up there because I have plants up there that require low temperatures to bloom in spring. I broke down last night and opened the vent in my room. I do like it cold when I sleep but 42 degrees is way too low even for me. My husband likes it very warm when he sleeps. We stopped sleeping together about five years ago. Now he has the three pugs in bed with him. I know, I’m crazy!😊🙃

  • Michael White

    For all the reasons listed below, I rarely go to a theatre. But every once and awhile a film needs to be seen on a big screen. I usually attend a “dinner hour” showing as their are fewer people.

    • Daveed_WOW

      I’ll go you one better. I go at 9:30 on Saturday mornings. With the old people. Er..I mean…with the OTHER old people.

      • Michael White

        Great idea. We ADULTS are usually more courteous than others, unless republiCONS

    • Dana Chilton

      Few people and lots of room in the back row

  • Ragnar Lothbrok
    • That doggy reminds me of how I was in high school phys ed when they made us do gymnastics.

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    • JCF

      Aw. Heh, I thought the doggy was going to knock the vidder down!

  • BlackGayVeganAtheist
  • OT- Don’t buy Drudge’s headline. He is using Rasmussen’s numbers – they are highly biased towards the GOP according to just about every serious quant number cruncher political analysis. 538 gives Rasmussen a C+, very low according to predictability, and drops them 5% according to actual results. Trump still has historic lows for a first year President. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c2585c412af3e281eddfdb7175c4d21fab4297aebb5f83102f50f436931a7202.jpg

  • Dana Chilton

    I first heard about it when AMC threatened them.

    • marshlc

      I can understand some reluctance on the part of the theatres to support this, but …. it seems to me that there is quite a bit of benefit to the theatres, here. First, they’re getting their ticket price, no matter who pays it. Second, it costs about the same to show a movie to an empty room as a full one, so their profits go up with this model while their costs stay roughly the same. Third, theatres make a lot of their money in concession sales, and this could only have a positive impact on those. Fourth, getting people out and about and excited about movies has got to be good for their business. If a Movie Pass holder sees a film for cheap and tells his friends “This is a great movie that is worth seeing in the theatre” , he’s helping get full price bums in seats.

      • Dana Chilton

        I agree. I really really like the idea. I’m a huge movie buff. Without the theatres I wouldn’t have any place for first dates! Im gonna finally sign up. I was charged 7 dollars for a soda so they’ll still be getting a lot of my money

  • Dayglo

    I’ve had a MoviePass card for nearly 3 months now I’ve seen just about every single movie available to me, including some foreign, arthouse and revival titles. Except “Pitch Perfect 3” … can’t do it.

    • JCF

      Aw, I wanna see it…WHEN it comes to the cheap ($4 all seats, all times) theater!

  • Duh-David

    Missed this the first time on JMG, so this is the first I’m hearing of MoviePass. Also the 6-screen that is one mile from my front door just closed as the shopping center has gone bankrupt. Haven’t seen a movie in a theatre in probably a decade. Plus I haven’t been back to NYC in years. I would be curious how many of those million subscribers are New Yorkers.

  • Dayglo

    I’ll never, never ever understand why some people are so proud that they’ll never attend a theatrical movie release. I’ve been told “We haven’t been to a movie theater since we saw ‘Forrest Gump.’” If you hate movies, own up to it. I can’t see where it’s anything to be proud of.

    • joeyj1220

      THANK YOU!!! It would be like me, who hates anything sports related, saying “I hate bad human behaviour therefore I haven’t been to a football game in years “

      • Dayglo

        I’ve no use for sports, either. That doesn’t make me gay, does it? (crickets)

        • prixator

          I don’t much like sports, but I do like handsome sportsmen.

  • Tawreos

    If there were more movies that I wanted to see this might be worth it.

  • Javier Smith

    I got Movie Pass and I see a movie pretty much every week now. I can now afford to buy a soda now so the theatre gets some revenue as well.

  • I signed up and I’ve now seen two movies with the Pass. I’m not sure how they’ll ultimately make money but since the husband and I love going to movies this will be be great for as long as it lasts.

  • TCinBerkeley

    I like how the blurb is all “…it took Netflix three years…” Uh, yeah, 1999 is not 2017. Derp.

    I lost my phone and was without one for a full week (Thanks Sprint and Asurion!), and was surprised at how much I missed not having a handheld computer constantly within reach. And I loathe phones. I am sure my 1999 self would be all “Ugh. What a snowflake!” My 1982 self would be saying “You have a handheld computer? Wheeeeee!”

  • is this an ad?
    Movie pass has been around for way more than 4 months. At least a year and a half. They used to cost $50 a month but maybe 4 mos is the new $10 month model.