As movie theater sales continue to plummet across the country, Mitch Lowe has an idea to get people back in the theater. His company MoviePass wants moviegoers to view as many movies as they want each month for the cost of a single movie ticket. Sounds good right?
Here’s how it works, MoviePass operates on a subscription-based service where subscribers pay $9.95 a month and have access to one showing every day at any theater in the U.S. that accepts debit cards (excluding 3D and Imax screens). Think of it as “Netflix for movie theaters,” explained Mitch in an interview with BigSpeak.
The parallels between MoviePass and Netflix are no coincidence. Before taking over as CEO of MoviePass Mitch was a co-founder of Netflix. But his experience in the home video industry doesn’t end there, Mitch also served as the President of Redbox.
A veteran in the video entertainment business, Mitch believes the high cost of movie tickets is to blame for the theater industries decline, not the competition from Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. “People really do want to go more often,” he said. “They just don’t like the transaction.”
He’s got a point, movie theaters are expensive. According to Box Office Mojo, the cost of movie tickets has nearly doubled in the past 20 years. The national average cost of a movie ticket is $8.89 but in places like New York City or Los Angeles prices can set you back $12-$16 and up.
With MoivePass’s subscription-based service, “customers can explore content they wouldn’t normally have seen in an a-la-carte purchase model,” says Mitch.
To provide customers with the lowest monthly fee, MoviePass will pay theaters the full price of each ticket used by customers. To do this, MoviePass recently sold a majority of their stake to the data firm Helios and Matheson Analytics.
Theater operators should certainly welcome any effort to increase sales. Fortune reported, “the top four cinema operators, led by AMC Entertainment, lost $1.3 billion in market value early this month after a disappointing summer.” As far as we know, however, concessions will still be outrageously priced even with a MoviePass subscription, so you’ll need to continue to sneak those in if you have any hope of leaving the theater without feeling as though you’ve been swindled for your Swedish Fish.