The buttery smell of popcorn, the anticipation of standing in lines with fellow fans, and experiencing your future favorite films on the big screen for the first time: there’s nothing quite like a trip to the movie theatres. For decades the cinema has been a staple American past-time, a great end to a long week or great casual outing for a first date. The impressive presentation of the screen and the speakers has made for an unmatched viewing of Hollywood’s greatest products. However, audiences are beginning to stray away from the movies.
This past summer was one of Hollywood’s lowest grossing years, with profits in July falling 12.2 percent since last year. In early August, AMC, a massive movie theatre chain, announced budget cuts that sliced it's stock by 26%. It looks like movie theatres could soon be phased out in favor of more comfortable options like Netflix and Hulu. TV technology has become so advanced that cheap HD TV’s can sometimes be enough for even the most avid cinephile, especially if they can forego the snacks.
All hope is not lost, though. A company called MoviePass is looking to change the way we watch movies in the theatre forever. Adopting the popular subscription based business model, MoviePass is currently allowing its customers to see one movie per day for $9.95 per month. No, that was not a typo. This is a new offer from the company who has recently promoted Mitch Lowe, an executive at Netflix and Redbox. MoviePass has been around since 2011 and offered customers the same services but for around $30 a month. “If I’ve learned anything at Netflix and Redbox, being first to market really matters,” said Lowe. “MoviePass’ patented technology will allow millions of consumers to go to the movies more than ever and is proven to substantially increase attendance for the theaters. This is great news for all — exhibitors, studios and consumers.”
MoviePass works by sending you a debit card that you can use every time you get to the theatre. Just slide your card, and MoviePass takes care of the rest. While it sounds too good to be true, this model does make sense. Movie theatres are enthusiastic about the service because the low cost will encourage moviegoers to spend the money they are saving on concessions, where the theatres make the bulk of their money. The service will also certainly help with getting audiences out of their homes as well, and could very well reverse the downward trend the cinemas are experiencing.
The question I and many others have been asking themselves has been how the company would ever hope to turn a profit. The answer to that is data collection. Data is a huge commodity that companies are willing to pay massive amounts for. The cards that the company provides data for MoviePass that is valuable to show what movies people are seeing, the demographic of the audiences, theatre locations etc.
It will be interesting to see how such a radical service will affect the movie business in the coming years. Statistics show that MoviePass tends to double the amount that consumers go to see movies. Perhaps this will be the jump start the movie industry needs to regain our attention.