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MoviePass’ $10 plan to watch unlimited movies receives major industry blowback

AMC Theatres calls it ‘shaky and unsustainable’

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Going to the movie theater has jumped from a $5 affair to $25, and if you have a family of four, it almost breaks the bank.

When Netflix co-founder Mitch Lowe was made CEO of the startup in 2016, five years after MoviePass began, Lowe’s intention was to make it easier and cheaper for people to see as many movies as they’d like. The company introduced a $99 annual subscription tier, and most recently, Lowe announced a new $9.99 monthly plan.

To put that into perspective, if you see more than one movie a month, then you’ll have reaped the full benefit of what MoviePass offers. It’s a consumer-first ideology, and one that Lowe believes can also profit his company.

The subscription service, which takes many of its cues from Netflix’s successful business strategy, has also collected a few enemies. A statement from AMC Theaters, the largest theater chain in the United States, confirmed today that the corporation’s legal team had begun “consulting with its attorneys to determine if or how AMC can prevent a subscription program offered by MoviePass from being used at AMC Theatres in the United States.”

In its statement, AMC claimed that “MoviePass will be losing money on every subscriber seeing two movies or more in a month,” adding “that price level is unsustainable and only sets up consumers for ultimate disappointment down the road if or when the product can no longer be fulfilled.”

MoviePass launched $30 subscription fee, but Lowe told Bloomberg most people didn’t use the pass enough to warrant spending that much money. $30 is roughly equivalent to three movies a month, or one movie a weekend for three weeks. At $10 a month, Lowe said more people who want to go watch movies in a theater but don’t want to worry about going broke in the process, may find it more accessible.

“People really do want to go more often,” Lowe told Bloomberg. “They just don’t like the transaction.”

Without AMC Theatres willing to accept the pass, however, this will result in fewer theaters willing to work with subscribers. This may be okay for major cities like Los Angeles or New York, where there are numerous chains, but for smaller or more rural cities, this may be one of the biggest factors in the decision-making process for people weighing the option.

Despite the statement from AMC, the theater chain does have some legalities to consider. The company first entered into an agreement with MoviePass back in 2014 when a $35 monthly subscription tier was being offered. It’s unclear at this time if AMC can drop out of its contractual obligations.

“We are actively working now to determine whether it may be feasible to opt out and not participate in this shaky and unsustainable program,” the statement reads.

MoviePass’ new subscription cost is already in effect.