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Movie Pass, Sinemia, AMC A-List and other theater subscriptions

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Tino, Aug 18, 2017.

  1. Tino

    Tino Executive Producer
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    So I jumped at the opportunity to sign up for this. One movie a day. $9.99 a month. Was able to sign up online and now waiting for my card to try it out.

    If it works that's an unbelievable bargain.

    Lots of rules and AMC is fighting it but if I see ONE film month it will be worth it. We'll see.

    Here's a link on how it works.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/how-moviepass-works-2017-8
     
  2. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Tino, when you start using the program, here's my area of concern - maybe you can shed some more light on this once your membership is active:

    The fine print made it seem that the only tickets you could redeem as a subscriber would be for non-premium, 2D-only showings. When I looked at the list of movies I've seen theatrically this year, I do not believe I have seen a single non-premium 2D showing of a film. All of my viewing in the past year has either been IMAX 3D, IMAX 2D, Dolby Cinema, 4DX, Regal RPX, AMC Prime and 70mm (or special presentations like Fathom or at repertory theaters that don't participate in the program), and I don't think any of those are eligible for Moviepass. It's undoubtedly still a great value, but if I'm not seeing the movies that the service works with in the first place, it may not apply for me. Definitely interested in hearing more specifically about those.
     
  3. Tino

    Tino Executive Producer
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    Yeah. All premium showings are excluded. Still. Wind River for example. A 2D presentation. They'll be plenty of non premium films to see to make it worthwhile.

    Hopefully.
     
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  4. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I'll also be curious to hear how it works with reserved seating.

    All of the AMCs in NYC feature reserved seatings for all showings and all formats, and they're the dominant chain here. Often the best seats are reserved days in advance. If Moviepass only allows you to pick a ticket the day of the show, for reserved seating auditoriums you might get stuck in the worse seats.

    Now, give me a version of this program that includes the premium screens at a similar price point and I'm in!
     
  5. WillG

    WillG Lead Actor

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    I like the idea, but useless for me since I almost always go for IMAX and/or 3D if it's an option.

    And if this catches on, it could be damaging for IMAX and especially 3D box office numbers.
     
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  6. Tino

    Tino Executive Producer
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    Or add a fee to include IMAX and 3D.

    I'd pay $25 a month for that.
     
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  7. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Lead Actor
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    How would you be able to use this service at AMC theatres if they are fighting it? You would think that the service would require an agreement with the theatre chain for it to be valid.

    How do they make money at 10 dollars a month for a movie a day when the average ticket price per film is 10 dollars or greater? Something doesn't add up.
     
  8. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I did a little research, and here's apparently how it works.

    Moviepass doesn't have deals with 96% of the theaters they list as supporting. What they actually have done is to build a system which serves as a middleman between the theater's sales and the Moviepass customer. The Moviepass card that you get from them isn't actually a membership card like a frequent customer program, it's a Mastercard that doesn't have any money on it. When you decide that you want to see, for example, Dunkirk at 7pm at Theater X, you travel to the theater and when you're on the property, you open the app and select that showtime and film. The GPS in your smartphone will verify that you're at the theater, and when that verification is complete, it will load whatever the full ticket price is onto that card for a brief period. You then go to the box office and buy a ticket to Dunkirk and just pay with that card. More explanation in this interview here:

    http://deadline.com/2017/08/will-moviepass-give-theaters-jolt-innovation-doomed-fail-1202150928/

    Right now, Moviepass is paying them out of their own pocket from money the investors have raised. (They were probably able to raise money due to their success with launching Netflix and Redbox.) They hope to do this for a year or two, and then turn to theater owners and say, "You're getting more customers, even if they're paying less per ticket, and they're still buying concessions, so you're still making money - you should be the to absorb the loss." That really is their business plan - to hope to get a ton of customers, and basically blackmail the theater chains into absorbing the loss at the threat of "well, now your customers have gotten used to paying less, we're not gonna foot that bill anymore, so you better do it."

    It does not seem sustainable. It does seem like it has the potential to both bankrupt this company and put one more nail in the coffin of theatrical exhibition.

    I wouldn't be opposed to getting a subscription directly with a chain that was a little more convenient for my needs. When I go to the movies, it usually involves half an hour or more of riding on a subway, plus whatever extra time to leave the house, etc. I will not go to a movie unless my ticket has been purchased in advance, because I do not want to travel half an hour or more and then find out that it's sold out or canceled. You have to physically be within the property of the theater to buy a Moviepass ticket - you apparently can't buy a ticket for an evening show from home the morning of the show.

    Another problem for me is that the majority of NYC theaters now offer reserved seating, and the best seats are often taken in advance. You can pick your seat when you arrive to buy the ticket, but not before. So you can show up to the theater, only to find that the best seats were sold days earlier.

    I think it's a program that is potentially useful to lots of customers, I think I'm just in this weird niche of the market I live in plus the premium showings I prefer make this not a great deal for me at this time.

    If AMC did something like this that included the ability to purchase at home in advance, even if it was just day of (so I knew I was guaranteed a ticket before leaving the house), and included an option to reserve your seat in advance and pay an extra fee for IMAX and 3D, I could get behind that. I want to like this current idea but I think it's just not really relevant to how I go to the movies.
     
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  9. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Unless the card has a major credit card logo on it, I don't see why any theater would honor it in the first place unless they've worked a deal with MoviePass.
     
  10. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    It seems like they're essentially "rush tickets" like Broadway theaters used to do ... before showtime, everything was sold at a discount, you got no say over where you sat but you would get into an expensive show for a lot less, and the theater would get something instead of nothing.

    If movie tickets were something that most people bought in advance, I could see this working better. But since most people just show up before showtime and aren't crazy planners like me, this is just changing people from being $15 a ticket customers to being $10 a month customers, and that's probably a loss more often than not.

    Movie theaters, as an industry, are in real trouble right now. My AMC stock was at $30 a year ago and is at $13 (and still falling) today. In a very short time, moviegoers have been trained to forgo taking chances on new things and taught to come out to see giant blockbusters, and to save the rest for TV at home. I worry that a program like this, if successful, could do to movie theaters what Netflix and Redbox did to Blockbuster. Those services refined a movie's worth to most people, decreasing the value of a rental or single viewing from $5 to an expectation it should be $1 or virtually free. If movie theater customers take the same lesson, that's the beginning of the end for the box office. Sure, people will still pay full price for Star Wars on opening night, but can four or five movies like that each year make up for people not paying for anything else? Theater owners won't be able to make rent if they only get people a couple times a year. And since theatrical grosses still vastly exceed home video for most titles, if the theaters as we know them go, so do movies as we know them. Everything will just be TV....

    ...or, at least, that's my nightmare scenario. I'm really torn because as an individual I would love to be able to see more movies for less money, but I'm also concerned it could end up speeding up the demise of something I love.

    (Also...if I have problems today with people who won't stop talking during the movie or who use their phones during the movie, and that's at a showing that's $27 a ticket, what's the audience behavior gonna be like when it's basically free? And if presentation quality is an issue even at $27 a ticket shows, what chance is there that the theaters will care when it's basically free? Those factors could also make moviegoing unpleasant even for non-participants in the program, which devalues the moviegoing experience further.)

    Sorry to be so schizophrenic on this. I like it but I'm deeply concerned. Tino, if you want me to keep my big mouth shut, by all means, i don't wanna turn into a thread crapper! :)
     
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  11. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    It does - it's a MasterCard. As far as the theater knows, you're just a guy buying a ticket with a credit card.
     
  12. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    So, turning the cineplex into Netflix?

    What little I've read about how the movie business works and the front-loaded revenue stream to the distributors, it seems like this would require negotiating with them, not the movie theaters per se.

    Of, if this kills the theater, do the studios and distributors shed any tears?

    Thoughts?
     
  13. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Then I guess the theaters cannot do much about it, unless they file some kind of grievance with MasterCard. The theater's agreement with MC would require them to honor all MC-branded cards.
     
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  14. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    This company was created 6 or 7 years ago by one of the founders of Netflix.

    This pricepoint is right for me and my wife.

    We decided that going to see movies on an Imax screen fro $40-$50 a show is not worth it anymore.
    Just too much money to go to the movies for 2 people.

    This way I can go whenever a new movie opens and once in a while she will go too.
     
  15. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    Moviepass has an invite a friend on the site but regardless of the number of them I send out no one ever gets one. My minor complaint.

    I sent them a note about it but haven't heard back.
     
  16. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Malcolm, That's pretty much what the new service's CEO said in an interview.

    The reason I used the word "blackmail" (which may be too strong a word but still..) is because the CEO has said the business plan is to fund this at a loss for two years, get the public used to buying tickets like this, and then when they have all of the moviegoing public signed up to their service, demand that the movie theaters partner with them and cover the losses, otherwise they'll shut down and threaten that customers who got used to paying $10 a month just won't come back to theaters at all.

    I wonder if there's any kind of anti-trust or regulation of some kind they could bump into. How is it right for you to independently set the price of someone else's product against the merchant's will?
     
  17. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Lead Actor
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    Thanks for digging into that Josh. Like I said, it didn't add up and your research shows why. It is unsustainable. They are going to use their own money and then turn the costs over to the the theatres based on a point-of-no-return business model. Good luck with that.

    The theatres are still getting full value for the ticket. Once this company has burned through their money, the theatres will just refuse to cover the difference and the members of this service will get a notice of termination of service.

    The theatre chains hardly care about their customers who pay per movie, judging by the quality of presentation and venue. They certainly are not going to care about subsidizing what amounts to a movie club just to fill seats.

    Studios and distributors should care as the initial theatrical release is where they get the biggest bang for their money. Other venues of release eventually make more money, but it is the success of a film at the box office that sets what the licensing value is for other outlets.

    They will be killing the licensing value of movies if they just become indistinguishable from other sources of TV and streaming fare. I'm pretty sure it costs a lot more to license a Star Wars movie for home viewing than Battlefield Earth.
     
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  18. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Edwin, to your last point... think of movies like Star Wars or Avengers, which can cost $200-300 million to make. If movie theaters lose their viability, the ability to make that kind of money goes with it. And once they can't make that money, they won't be able to spend it, so those kinds of movie experiences could come to an end.
     
  19. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    The logistics of a moviepass customer works for a single or couple who go to the theater together. What happens if you're going with friends who don't have moviepass and everyone wants to sit together? The moviepass couple will have to force the non-moviepass friends to buy their tickets at the BO instead of reserving ahead of time.

    We almost always go with a friend or two. I'm having hard time seeing this work.

    BTW, I presume only one ticket per moviepass membership can be bought?
     
  20. Wayne_j

    Wayne_j Cinematographer

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    That is correct, only one ticket at a time can be bought
     

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