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A colleague brought my attention to an article that came out in Variety with a double-edged sword of a headline: “Box Office Hits Record, But Number of Frequent Moviegoers Drops 10%.”

Childish puns aside, I’m willing to bet that the big “but” in that sentence caught your eye.

According to the article and the MPAA, “frequent moviegoers” is defined as someone that sees at least one movie a month. So 10% less people in 2015 decided to spend not even a SINGLE time at a movie theater each month.

Overall attendance and revenue were boosted, which is great, I don’t want to take away from that. It’s exciting news, but that success was attributed to unicorn movies like Star Wars: the Force Awakens and Jurassic World. Those movies’ astronomical numbers (the two combined made up 14.3% of the 2015 domestic total) pushed up the cumulative receipts for 2015.

And while the past year has been positive, it’s by no means a trend. Check out the graph below from Box Office Mojo of the box office grosses by year.

*Total Gross in millions, via Box Office Mojo


The only consistent pattern in the past five years? Ticket prices going up, with the biggest jump happening from 2014 to 2015.

Whether this is a strategy by the industry or a natural function of the economy doesn’t matter too much, but I would argue this price point is what is making a monthly movie commitment a tough pill to swallow for people.

And that’s where MoviePass fits in.

Compare that first headline to this one run just a few weeks ago by the same author, same publication: MoviePass Study: Theater Subscription Service Boosts Attendance by 111% (EXCLUSIVE).

No “buts” there!

To give you a quick breakdown, a third-party company called Mather Economics analyzed MoviePass member behavior relative to theater rewards program members, and they found that our members go, on average, 111% more times per month.

Based on my experience as a member and employee, I think I know why.

When I signed up for MoviePass before joining the team, I wanted to see more movies in theaters. Period. I love movies, I wanted to be more aware of things out now instead of waiting for a digital release, and I wanted to push myself to see things that I may never have paid the $15 New York City ticket prices for on my mid-twenties budget. I saw the subscription service as a godsend: I’d see three movies a month and everything after that was paid for. Boom, no-brainer.

MoviePass viewing history

At the essence of the subscription, MoviePass service lets you see more for less. Anecdotally, I know from experience that MoviePass was a solution to my financial risk of theatergoing, and now, based on the report from Mather, it appears I’m not the only one with that aversion to risk.

And hey, remember when that report for 2015 revealed there was a drop in frequent moviegoers aged 18 to 24? Well, it did. And the article about MoviePass? 75% of members are 18-34. Seems like younger moviegoers are liking what we’re doing, and being one myself, I totally get it. It gives you a freedom that you just don’t have buying your tickets one at a time.

The study also indicates MoviePass can be beneficial not just to passionate moviegoers but also to exhibitors through increased theater attendance and concession buying. And extending my anecdote, I can see MoviePass also benefiting studios by allowing members to see movies they may not have seen otherwise. Wins all around, by my count.

High fives for everyone (via GIPHY)

The core to my comments on the 2015’s box office numbers and ultimately why I wanted to write this article is a belief in a healthy, diverse theatrical landscape that movie-lovers have access to. Higher ticket prices force moviegoers to limit their exposure to riskier titles, and in turn, we will start to see less time and energies put in to smaller movies with less blockbuster potential.

There is a different option for a path that benefits all parties: a cinema world that is more stable, in which people can experience both the blockbusters and the smaller scale films that may get lost in the fray, losing out due to lack of marketing budget or broader appeal. I’m not the only one that believes a subscription company like MoviePass can help make that happen, and if for some reason it isn’t, I hope another solution comes along.

As a lifelong movie-lover, that’s the world I want to live in.

If you agree, I’d greatly appreciate it if you share the article with your friends, and please comment below if you have any thoughts!

37 thoughts on “Why MoviePass Is Good For Cinema Leave a comment

  1. Is MP still doing the 24 hour clock that makes weekend matinee viewing near impossible? Any traction on IMAX or 3D films with the membership yet?

    • Moviepass got rid of the 24 hour clock, at least in the NYC market, though I am pretty sure they did that everywhere. I personally have heard no word on IMAX or 3D yet.

        • I stand corrected. It seems they did away with the clock in the NYC area due to a large price raise to $45 monthly. I don’t mind paying the extra $10 a month to not have the 24 hour clock. I just read the moviepass website, and it seems like there is a premium membership for IMAX and 3D movies in the Boston and Denver area, but nowhere else.

      • I was told by my rep that IMAX is being tested in two markets, Denver and Bosten if I remember right. If those test markets are successful, they will expand to other markets.

    • No I still have the 24 hour clock. It’s not impossible to do. You just have to go the same time every day or skip a day and it resets to anytime.

    • I use MoviePass to subsidize my IMAX/3D purchases.

      It’s worked for me in Pittsburgh, Orlando, and in the Bay Area (California).

      I typically go to AMC theaters, at a self service kiosk.

      when it’s time to pay, I use the MoviePass card and it tells me it can only cover $13.50 or whatever.

      Then, I pay the rest out of pocket.

  2. This is awesome!! Like you, I signed up so I could enjoy the smaller titles, the buzzy mammoths, all on a short budget and further spread my enthusiasm for cinema to those around me. More than a year later, MORE of NYC’s theatres are available on MoviePass! It keeps getting better! Highly recommended.

  3. Moviepass would be great IF you could see the same movie more than once. Say I went to see Captain America Civil War one day and wanted to go see it the next day too. You can’t with movie pass. It’s not really UNLIMITED movies. And for $30 a month, you should be able to see more than one movie a day….I would be on board totally and be their biggest spokesperson if they did that. Until then, it’s not worth it.

    • It would make no sense for you to be able to see the same movie multiple days. There are a couple reasons for this. One, their business model is set up to allow you to see about 3 movies a month where they would just about break even. If you see less than 3 movies they make money. If you see more than that they lose money. UNLESS you go to an AMC theater, who they have partnered with. I am guessing that AMC is kicking back to the program to increase movie going which increases concession sales, which is where the theater makes all their money.

      If you were allowed to go see the same movie over and over that would increase their losses as some people love to see the same movie as many times as they can when it comes out. It would also increase the amount of misuse of the program, by allowing people to get tickets for friends using moviepass, which is not what the program is for.

      Although I do not have any knowledge of this first hand, I am guessing the idea of one movie a day is the selling point, and the cost per market, which is around 3 movies per month, was calculated at the best offer with the best way they could at the very least sustain momentum to keep the program running, in the hopes of eventually making a profit. The partnership with AMC should be helping with that, but every other theater makes 100% of the cost of the ticket. Although we would ALL love to see more than one movie a day on moviepass, or see a movie more than once, it has to be valuable for both parties, not just one, otherwise this would be a non profit business, which would not last very long.

      My suggestion to you would be to broaden your movie tastes a bit, there are so many titles that get little recognition, and some very much deserve it. I am not saying going to see some tearjerker if you like action films, I am saying just try to branch out a bit more, see some titles you wouldn’t normally see, maybe you will find a few more movie gems a year. Or go to some of the smaller theaters that accept moviepass, see some independent films, or some older classics you missed the first time around. Build up your education on movies and its history. The $30-45 (depending on your market) a month for one movie a day is fair for both sides.

      • My tastes are quite open…I am a huge movie buff. Paying a monthly fee should allow more flexibilty and more options IE: seeing the same movie….more than one a day,….etc. I understand their rules…but more flexibilty would e nice.

        • For 35 bucks a month..really? I can see what you are saying if it cost more. Most people don’t even see the same movie more than once in theaters. I don’t like the 24 hour clock but hey at least there is a service like this. I see 3-5 movies a week now, sometimes 6-7. So yeah it’s unlimited.

        • This is such a great deal that I can’t believe that people actually complain because they can’t see a movie more then once…. People never seem to stop amazing me…. I agree with one movie per day, but not in the 24 hour clock. Sometimes I’ll go see a movie on Friday night and I’d like to go to a matinee on Saturday… It would actually save them money if they allowed us to do that…

      • And if you do want to re-watch a film, that’s probably a sign that you’re willing to spend your own money on it. That’s what I realized. I use MoviePass the first time, then I use my Regal Crown Club points or even pay with my own money (if it’s a small indie film that deserves more money) to watch a second time and even a third time.

    • You can, you just have to go the same time every day. I don’t like the 24 hour clock cause my days off are not the same each week and my hours are also different each day. I still see at leat 3-4 movies a week. I have even gone 7 days in a row.

  4. I wish MP would find another way to buy tickets without exclusively using your smartphone. Technology often interferes with trying to buy tickets (batteries low, out of data, etc.). A model similar to Fandango would help.

    • You can always call moviepass if you have any issues with the app and they will manually load the card for you. I have had to do this multiple times when movies aren’t listed on the app, though it is not a huge problem.

    • I was told by MP that they are working on a e-ticket but it is only testing in a couple states. I personally like getting my tickets early to avoid lines but some days I can’t cause of the 24 hour rule. I haven’t had any real problems with the app. I called a few times and they have been quick to fix the problem. Once the app didn’t work. I bought the ticket, they reimbursed me.

  5. I love MP! I tell everyone about it. I would love to add more local theaters. Any ideas why some theaters are not on the list? How can we get them on board? Can I suggest theaters to MP or can I suggest MP to those theaters?

  6. I am a big movie fan and I go to at least 4-5 movies each month (if not even more if works permits). Being able to watch the same movie more than once would indeed be great, or even going to see multiple movies in the same day, but come on people! You have to look at the bigger picture, (no pun intended) Moviepass is based on us as consumers being honest that it would only be used for personal use. Think about if you could see the same movie more than once, how that will be extremely problematic. I know you are all honest patrons, but we all know there is that one exception of where people might not have the same morals. With that said, that person can easily download the app, log in on their friends, spouse, etc’s behalf and use the card to see the same movie they previously saw. That would be detrimental to moviepass and of course the industry. So let’s all chill and be happy that we are paying less than what we movie lovers would be paying to see all of these movies at OUR convenience, especially without the 24hour limit they just got rid of.

  7. I am an assiduous user of movie pass , an average of two movies per week. However, I really would like to see back in the teachers listing Archlight and Chinise Grahamm, advtheybused to be few years ago.

  8. Interested in Moviepass, but I will not buy it until they get rid of the 24 hour clock and let you see one movie in each 24 hour period, start time any time. Without that, the service does not work for me.

    • The catch, however, is what there exists somewhere a member who is willing to travel to other time zones (far-fetched, I know, but here me out:) to cut down on the waiting time. I’ve learned, when I have multiple films on my plate, to watch the one with the earliest time I can watch, then watch the next one with the screening, say, 10 minutes after the 24-hour clock has finished. It’s worked out so far for me.

      Besides, I think the 24-hour clock gives us a good lesson in moderation. It’s always good to take a break every now and then from watching more films at the theater than most average moviegoers.

  9. First, I love MP and average 2-3 movies per week since joining about a year ago compared to 2-3 a quarter before having MP. MP should definitely consider getting rid of the 24 hour period and instead, limit MP to one ticket per day based on the time zone where the last ticket was purchased. That way seeing a moving one evening would not prevent an afternoon movie the next day if that better fits your schedule.

    Although AMC partners with MP, they do not accept MP for tickets at their Dine-In Theaters which would be nice along with the 3D and IMAX films too.

    Based on the data in the beginning of the article, movie goers were declining and ticket prices going up. Those are not sustainable conditions for movie theaters indicating an industry in decline. MP is a great win for both movie-goers and theaters, customers go more frequently raising attendance rates and spending on concessions which curbs the decline.

    One of the other great benefits of MP is that you don’t have to be concerned about the ticket price for participating theaters and there are no blackout dates or times for first run movies and special engagements unlike most discount ticket programs.

    • I heard you can if you go to a different theater brand. Like if you go to AMC, then go to Regal you can see it again. Have not tried it.

      • Unfortunately it’s across all theaters, you wouldn’t be able to see a movie more than once with MoviePass. Sorry! :/

    • Easy…in the app, select a movie you don’t care to see, but use the card to buy the ticket for the movie you want to see again.

  10. Everyone is saying that they did away with the 24 hour restriction, when in their terms and conditions it still says you have to wait a 24 hour period before you can view another movie, instead of you have to wait until the next calendar day to view the next movie?

Make yourself heard!