Over your Moviepass?
The drama surrounding the world's first flat-fee subscription movie service is starting to rival the movies on the screen. Even the company admits it's "going through a rough patch," which it compared to Uber's learning curve, according to Deadline Hollywood.
Those who still own a Moviepass (of the three million who signed up in less than a year) are feeling the growing pains. There have always been the rules about one pass per person, smart phone a must and membership and tickets non-transferable. But other restrictions have gradually joined, culminating in the July 5 announcement of a variable "peak pricing" system that would ask subscribers to pay an additional fee for some showtimes based on high demand for certain titles, dates or times of day.
That announcement was followed by the July 31 letter from Moviepass CEO Mitch Lowe that told subscribers, "We must reduce availability for big new-release titles, such as Mission: Impossible - Fallout and other popular new releases, at least for a while as we adjust the business model," and, "Showtimes offered through our service will vary from day to day, and every showtime may not be available."
No one's saying the blips aren't expected. From Day One, the Moviepass model has included a service agreement giving Moviepass the right to change its service conditions at any time. And so it's been sort of a game of Chicken as the company slowly got more and more restrictive.
An increase to $14.95 per month for memberships is also expected by the end of August, according to Business Insider. Though that's still well below what you'd pay for two standard admission tickets, if it isn't enough to keep you involved with this start-up, get out!
And for once, that is easily said and easily done, BI added. "Dozens of Twitter users have complained that the cancel button 'isn't working' on the MoviePass app," it explained. "But their troubles may boil down to a simple misunderstanding."
BI noted that the common theme among those complaining was that they couldn't press the cancel button, even if they wrote in the provided box asking why they were leaving the service.
"But writing in the box is actually optional," it added. "Users don't have to write anything. But they do have to select from the drop-down menu above that text box why they are canceling, based on the provided options."
In short, to cancel, make sure to select an option from the drop-down menu before you hit "cancel," even if you've already written out your reasons for pulling the plug.
And if you'd still like to pay a flat fee and see multiple movies? There are other options for avid moviegoers seeking a bargain if Moviepass turns out not to be sustainable, according to The Verge. "You're probably wondering whether there's a competing product that stacks up," The Verge said. "The answer is somewhere between 'yes' and 'no.'"
No one is going to let you see a movie a day all month long for $10. "But that's primarily because MoviePass' business model was so poorly thought-out that it essentially drove its owner to the edge of bankruptcy," The Verge added. "Instead, the few existing MoviePass alternatives operate more like discount services: you essentially get discounted movie tickets in exchange for a monthly fee."
Here are the three to look at, according to The Verge:
AMC Stubs A-List: $19.95 per month yields three movies per week, including IMAX, 3D, AMC Prime with Dolby Vision, or any other premium format. The drawback is this only applies to the 600 AMCs theaters nationwide. The Verge called Stubs A-List "the best service for the money and the closest thing to MoviePass you can get."
Sinemia: $3.99 per month for one ticket; $7.99 per month for two tickets; $9.99 per month for two tickets plus IMAX and 3D; $13.99 for three tickets plus IMAX and 3D, with access to any movie at any time with no blackouts and no theater restrictions whatsoever.
It's not at all close to the Moviepass model, The Verge cautioned. "You're basically just pre-buying cheaper movie tickets, rather than joining a more flexible service you can use multiple times a week. You also can't see multiple movies on the same day, and there doesn't appear to be a way to buy additional tickets within a given month."
Cinemark Movie Club: $9 per month for one 2D movie ticket credit per month, which you can upgrade to a 3D/IMAX version by paying an additional fee, but only at Cinemark theaters. Credits roll over from month to month and you can use the membership to buy additional $8.99 tickets for you or your friends at any time. This is the most limited of the potential Moviepass replacement plans.
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