Shocking news, folks: MoviePass is once again changing its membership model, for what feels like the ten thousandth time. According to Variety, Khalid Itum, the company's executive vice president, says it will debut an unlimited plan next week, though the details and the pricing still haven't been announced.
This month, MoviePass added a tiered series of plans with prices that vary depending on location and format. So far, it looks like a variation of MoviePass's previous three-movies-a-month deal. The newly announced tiers begin with "select," which allows moviegoers to view three movies per month from a preselected MoviePass list at a rate that starts at $9.95. A second tier, starting at $14.95, offers subscribers three movies of their choice per month, but only in 2D and non-IMAX formats. And the most expensive "red carpet" package, starting at $19.95, offers the same three movies a month, but includes premium screen formats like 3D and IMAX.
The operative phrase here is "starting at"—these prices all scale up, depending on where you live. As the Playlist notes, you can figure out the price point for your city by checking out MoviePass's website and plugging in your ZIP code. The Playlist's Charles Barfield did this with Milwaukee, Wisconsin—"not much of a booming metropolis, but definitely not a small town," as he put it—and found the prices for the three tiers were $12.95, $17.95, and $21.95, respectively. For fun, I entered in ZIP codes for Venice, California, along with Brooklyn, New York. For both locations, the tiers came out to $14.95, $19.95, and $25.95, which are substantially higher than the basic marketed rate for a month-to-month subscription.
While the prices in this tiered system would still be a discount if you milk MoviePass for all it's worth, the plans are a far cry from the service's initial draw. An unlimited plan would be the closest return to the app's roots. MoviePass's initial business model looked deeply unsustainable from the outside, and it turned out it was: At one point in 2018, the company was spending more than $21 million a month. It became infamous for constantly shifting its business model and subscription pricing in attempts to stop all that bleeding. Last January, it even knocked some of the busiest AMC theaters off their platform, after unsuccessfully asking for a cut of their admissions and concessions profits.
Many of these previous changes have made the app, understandably, much less appealing. As Variety noted, before these most recent MoviePass updates, 49 percent of consumers felt positively about the company, but by last week, the figure had risen to 59 percent—a sign that, after digging its own grave, MoviePass might somehow actually be crawling out of it.
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