Turns out people really love going to the movies.
MoviePass, the service that allows subscribers to watch one movie per day at participating theaters in the United States for $9.95 a month, just surpassed one million users. The exponential growth, a 6500 percent increase in five months according to the company, follows the company’s decision to lower the subscription to $9.95.
Mitch Lowe, the MoviePass CEO and co-founder of Netflix, said in a news release that the immense growth the company has seen in the past four months still represents an early period for people choosing to subscribe to MoviePass. Lowe said he expects subscriptions to rise as more theaters join MoviePass’ program and more benefits are introduced.
“We believe that growth will continue as we further develop our application, improve customer service, enhance exhibitor relations and fill movie theater seats for incredible films to be released in the future,” Lowe said.
Despite MoviePass’ obvious success and Lowe’s bright-eyed view of the company’s future, theater chains are still concerned about how MoviePass could alter the future of their business. When Lowe announced the substantial price drop in August, AMC Theaters issued a statement condemning the new business model.
The company called MoviePass’ business model “unsustainable and only sets up consumers for ultimate disappointment down the road if or when the product can no longer be fulfilled,” adding that its legal team was investigating “whether it may be feasible to opt out and not participate in this shaky and unsustainable program.”
Though AMC has qualms with MoviePass’ business model, Lowe told Variety that other theater chains, including Regal and Cinemark, feel differently.
“We talked to the independents and the majors, the other two big guys [Regal and Cinemark] and they feel completely different,” Lowe said. “They all are taking a wait-and-see attitude, but they are positive about what we are doing. They welcome anybody who has figured out a way to get people back to the movies.”
In recent months, MoviePass has made changes to its service to ensure that it’s sustainable. In November, the company changed its terms of service to stop subscribers from deactivating and reactivating their subscriptions whenever they like. That means MoviePass subscribers probably need to keep their subscriptions even during film season’s dry months so they can use it for back-to-back summer blockbusters or during Oscar season.
MoviePass may be a controversial concept to theater owners and large chains, but it’s the first step in approaching the film industry with a subscription method that has worked wonders for the digital sphere. Following the price drop, it took less time for MoviePass to reach one million subscribers than Netflix, Spotify and Hulu.
People want to watch movies, and it’s only a matter of time before most theater chains launch their own subscription services.