MoviePass probably received more publicity over the last week than it saw over the entire six years it’s been in business. And it paid off: In the two day period after the movie ticket subscription service announced a drop in price to $9.95 a month, it raised its sub level to more than 150,000, passing the target set for late 2018, according to data firm Helios and Matheson Analytics which agreed to buy MoviePass.
It had about 20,000 subscribers in December, when the cheapest package cost $14.95.
H&M adds that two unnamed theater chains that have partnership agreements with MoviePass “reported outstanding attendance by MoviePass subscribers.”
Over six days ending August 20, one saw MoviePass attendance grow to 4,137 from 206 the previous week. The other chain was up to 1,795 from 203.
The unidentified chains have venues in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Texas, H&M says.
The company is eager to persuade exhibition chains to do business directly with MoviePass.
That’s been a struggle. AMC Entertainment, the world’s largest theater owner, last week said that the subscription service was “not welcome.” It says MoviePass’ business model is doomed to collapse, and may leave consumers with the impression that movie tickets are grossly overpriced.
MoviePass users receive a debit card that they can use to see up to one conventional 2D movie a day, with several restrictions. The company pays the theater the full ticket price. Although it might lose money now if subs use the service heavily, it hopes to profit by negotiating deals with studios, theaters, and others once it can prove that it can significantly increase attendance — especially to non-blockbusters.
AMC probably can’t just reject MoviePass’s debit cards. They’re issued by MasterCard, which bars companies using its service from discriminating.
MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe says he’s “gratified, and frankly amazed, as to the string of events that has unfolded and the volume of movie lovers we have been able to reach. Putting them in theater seats has always been our mission and this is a dream come true.”
H&M CEO Ted Farnsworth says the spike in subscriptions “reinforces our belief that we will disrupt the motion picture industry as we know it.”
His firm agreed to pay $27 million for a 51% stake in MoviePass, which they hope to take public next year.
H&M shares are up 18.3% since announcing the MoviePass deal, and its price drop, last week.