MoviePass Will Introduce Surge Pricing for Popular Films Beginning in a Few Weeks

by

Movie subscription service MoviePass today confirmed that it will soon introduce surge pricing into its business model, charging customers from $2 and up for films that the company deems popular. The news comes from MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe, who confirmed to Business Insider that surge pricing will affect monthly subscribers while annual subscribers will be exempt from what he describes as "high-demand" pricing.


The change will appear for affected subscribers within the "coming weeks," according to Lowe. Surge pricing is a dynamic, time-based strategy that apps like Uber use when a large amount of customers are requesting rides in the app but there aren't enough drivers to taxi them around.

Now this will extend to MoviePass, so on opening weekends or at particularly busy late-night showings of popular movies, monthly subscribers should expect to pay a bit more above their locked-in $9.95/month subscription price. Because this is not a fee that the movie theater is charging, users can expect MoviePass to take the surge pricing fee from the credit cards associated with their account -- although Lowe or any MoviePass spokesperson has yet to confirm this.

"At certain times for certain films — on opening weekend — there could be an additional charge for films," Lowe told Business Insider.

Lowe said this decision was a way to have its theaters partners see more traffic for big blockbusters in the mid-week and less-crowded weekends following the movie's opening weekend. It was also to "make sure that we can continue to offer a valuable service and support the whole enterprise," Lowe added.

Otherwise, there are two other additions coming to MoviePass this summer: a bring-a-friend feature and IMAX/3D screenings. In the MoviePass iOS and Android app, subscribers will be able to add on a ticket for a non-MoviePass friend, the cost of which will be "somewhere near the retail price of the ticket."

For IMAX and 3D movies, users will be given the option to pay an added fee for the premium screenings, ranging from $2-$6 according to Lowe. As of now, one of MoviePass' detriments is that it only allows subscribers to watch regular 2D movies. At launch subscribers will have to choose one of these features or the other for a single film, but eventually they will be able to combine premium and bring-a-friend options for the same movie.

The MoviePass news comes after AMC just yesterday revealed its own movie subscription service, which will let customers watch three movies per week for $19.95 a month -- including IMAX and RealD 3D showings. Lowe responded to this new rival service today as well:

"It's been tough when you have the president of AMC essentially for eight or nine months telling everybody that our subscription was not sustainable, and then he comes out with a program that essentially could cost him $60 or $80 a month to pay the studios their minimums and collecting $19.95," Lowe said, referring to AMC CEO Adam Aron. "So it is a little bit kind of funny that it's pretty clear what he wanted to do — clear the way for his own subscription program and not have competition."

All of the new MoviePass features -- including surge pricing -- will appear in the MoviePass app by the end of August.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
25 months ago
I realize that there are some who love seeing movies in the theater. That's cool, but I'm not one of them.

My list of reasons to NOT go to a theater to see movies is already pretty long. Expensive tickets, annoying patrons playing/talking on phones while kicking your seat, $10 popcorn, huge lines for popular movies, etc.

Their solution: Make it more expensive.

Me: Nope. Blu-Ray and 4K, thanks. I can wait 2 months and buy the disc for less than the total cost of the "theater experience."
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 months ago
I know there’s going to be mostly a negative reaction here, but movie tickets usually cost $15 (at least where I live). $10 a month + $2 for for popular movies is still a great deal.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 months ago
This company is a total trashfire. A bait and switch. It won't last very long if they keep screwing with customers. MoviePass will be completely dead within a year.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 months ago

another nail in the coffin...

Are they trying to get rid of customers?

This just made the amc service a lot more appealing
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 months ago

Agreed--- When I signed up, I signed up for the specific terms. They keep switching that up and this was bait & Switch!!

It would only be a Bait & Switch if they had you stuck in a contract (or if this affected the annual members). Since it’s month-to-month, they can keep changing it up.

The changes are definitely annoying, but none of them are deal breakers for me yet. My wife and I decided we just won’t watch movies opening weekend now to avoid that extra cost. Plus, we already didn’t watch most movies opening weekend anyways, so it’s almost a non-issue.

I guess the option to watch 3D/IMAX for an added fee is good news for some. I’d possibly watch a few movies a year in 3D if the premium isn’t too much. But 2D’s been fine for us, so that isn’t an issue either.

What we’d like is a family pass feature, so we could just use one card for two tickets, and get charged a single amount for it, instead of separate charges like it is now. Either way, it’s still working out, and it’s understandable that they keep changing the program to try to find a more sustainable business model.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 months ago

It would only be a Bait & Switch if they had you stuck in a contract (or if this affected the annual members).

I paid for an annual membership from Costco. They keep changing the terms on me... It's a bait and switch.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Leaker: Apple to Stick With Lightning Over USB-C for 'iPhone 12' Before Going Port-Less Next Year

Tuesday May 26, 2020 2:31 am PDT by
Apple will use a Lightning port instead of USB-C in the upcoming "iPhone 12," but it will be the last major series of Apple's flagship phones to do so, with models set to combine wireless charging and a port-less Smart Connector system for data transfer and syncing in the iPhone "13 series" next year. The above claim comes from occasional Apple leaker and Twitter user "Fudge" (@choco_bit),...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.5 With Battery Health Management Features, Fix for Finder Freezing

Tuesday May 26, 2020 1:59 pm PDT by
Apple today released macOS Catalina 10.15.5, the fifth update to the macOS Catalina operating system that was released in October 2019. macOS Catalina 10.15.5 comes two months after the launch of macOS Catalina 10.15.4, which introduced Screen Time Communication Limits. macOS Catalina 10.15.5 is a free update that can be downloaded from the Mac App Store using the Update feature in the...

Apple Reissuing Numerous iOS App Updates, Potentially Related to Recent 'This App is No Longer Shared' Bug

Sunday May 24, 2020 9:13 pm PDT by
Over the past few hours, a number of MacRumors readers have reported seeing dozens or even hundreds of pending app updates showing in the App Store on their iOS devices, including for many apps that were already recently updated by the users. In many cases, the dates listed on these new app updates extend back as far as ten days. Apple has not shared any information as to why updates for...

16-Inch MacBook Pro, iPad Pro, and iMac Pro With Mini-LED Displays Again Rumored to Launch in 2021

Tuesday May 26, 2020 5:30 am PDT by
Apple plans to release several higher-end devices with Mini-LED displays in 2021, including a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro in the first quarter, a new 16-inch MacBook Pro in the second quarter, and a new 27-inch iMac in the second half of the year, according to Jeff Pu, an analyst at Chinese research firm GF Securities. This timeframe lines up with one shared by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who recently...

Jailbreak Tool 'unc0ver' 5.0 Released With iOS 13.5 Compatibility

Sunday May 24, 2020 3:06 pm PDT by
The team behind the "unc0ver" jailbreaking tool for iOS has released version 5.0.0 of its software that claims to have the ability to jailbreak "every signed iOS version on every device" using a zero-day kernel vulnerability by Pwn20wnd, a renowned iOS hacker. The announcement comes just days after it was announced that the tool would soon launch. The unc0ver website highlights how the tool...

Future AirPods to Include 'Ambient Light Sensors' Possibly Related to Rumored Health Features

Monday May 25, 2020 2:53 am PDT by
Apple is reportedly looking to integrate light sensors in a new model of AirPods in the next couple of years, according to a new report today, suggesting their use could be part of rumored upcoming health monitoring features in the true wireless earbuds. In a paywalled article, DigiTimes reports that ASE Technology could be involved in manufacturing the sensors: Apple is expected to...

First App Using Apple and Google's Exposure Notification API Launches in Switzerland

Tuesday May 26, 2020 3:02 pm PDT by
The first app that takes advantage of the Exposure Notification API developed by Apple and Google has launched in Switzerland, according to a report from the BBC. A team of app developers working on contact tracing app called SwissCovid have rolled out the app in a beta capacity for members of the Swiss army, hospital workers, and civil servants. After the app is tested and approved by MPs,...

'This App is No Longer Shared' iOS Bug Preventing Some Apps From Opening

Friday May 22, 2020 3:58 pm PDT by
An app bug is causing some iOS users to be unable to open their apps, with affected iPhone and iPad users seeing the message "This app is no longer shared with you" when attempting to access an app. There are multiple complaints about the issue on the MacRumors forums and on Twitter from users who are running into problems. A MacRumors reader describes the issue:Is anyone else experiencing...

HBO Max Now Available on Apple TV and iOS Devices

Wednesday May 27, 2020 2:42 am PDT by
HBO Max launched today, and is now available on Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad. WarnerMedia's new streaming service, which replaces HBO Now, combines HBO content with shows and films from Warner Bros and Turner TV. The service is available as a native app on the ‌Apple TV‌ HD and ‌Apple TV‌ 4K, but second and third-generation ‌Apple TV‌ owners will need to AirPlay HBO Max content...

Apple's Pro Display XDR Wins 'Displays of the Year' Award

Tuesday May 26, 2020 7:45 am PDT by
The Society for Information Display today announced its selections for the 26th Annual Display Industry Awards, and Apple has once again taken one of the top spots, this time with its Pro Display XDR that debuted last year alongside the revamped Mac Pro. The Pro Display XDR was one of three display products named "Displays of the Year," alongside Samsung's foldable display and BOE's...