MoviePass Might Not Get You Into Your Movie

File: Cassie Langdon holds her MoviePass card. With MoviePass, Langdon said she's taking more chances on smaller releases instead of sticking with blockbusters and their sequels. (Darron Cummings/AP)

MoviePass had a bad weekend, after having a bad Thursday, after having a bad time for a while now. The popular movie theater subscription service was forced to borrow $5 million to pay its bills last week after failing to deliver on its basic promise — allowing people to see as many movies as they want.

Experts now say MoviePass's future is in doubt. The company has tried to prop itself up with tactics including surge pricing — charging extra for certain showings, even for movies with largely empty theaters, as seen in numerous posts on social media.

They're also limiting the movies you can go see. This past weekend, they weren't offering Mission: Impossible — Fallout in many theaters — even with surge pricing.

And for movies that appeared available for check-in, things weren't working for a number of users, according to MoviePass. We tried using MoviePass Sunday night and ran into this very problem at the theater, receiving a message that there was a problem but that e-ticketing theaters were still an option. Unfortunately, MoviePass hasn't been able to make large inroads into offering e-ticketing yet — most theaters in the Greater L.A. area, and the country as a whole, don't offer that option.

As of April, the company was losing $20 million a month. The business was hoping to turn a profit through people underutilizing its service, as well as through strategic partnerships largely focused on selling user data — but these have yet to materialize.

Competitors have tried to seize on MoviePass's woes — but the service with the most similarities to MoviePass, Sinemia, had its own problems over the weekend. In a since-deleted tweet, they noted that they were having a service interruption as well, but that they were upgrading their servers to keep up with demand. That upgrade was completed late Sunday afternoon, according to the company.

One perk of a competitor like Sinemia: it allows users to order tickets in advance online, rather than having to show up at the theater. The service comes with limits, including restricting users to buying between 1 and 3 tickets a month, depending on which tier they sign up for.

Some chains have also been rolling out their own MoviePass-like services. AMC, the largest chain in the L.A. area (and the United States), has been pushing their AMC Stubs A-List service, which comes in at $19.95 versus $9.95 a month for MoviePass. AMC limits users to three movies a week, but unlike MoviePass, it allows them to see 3D and IMAX films.

Users have been giving MoviePass a hard time for their business practices and changing terms of use, as well as questioning the service's sustainability.




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