2018 was a hellscape for MoviePass’ business. The movie ticketing service bled a ton of subscribers, rolled out a confusing array of tweaks to its terms, and implemented emergency financial moves behind the scenes to compensate for the turmoil. The service also had to deal with an onslaught of news coverage that put the company on constant death watch, and New York’s Attorney General even opened a fraud investigation into the service’s parent company, for good measure.
So it should probably come as no surprise to learn that almost 60 percent of MoviePass’ users cancelled their subscriptions in 2018.
That’s according to new analysis from the finance app Trim, which took a look at 400 million transactions from users in 2018. Its data shows, among other things, that most of the cancellations came in the summer. Specifically, in June and July, when the crush of bad news hitting MoviePass seemed to be at its peak. That was around the time when we learned that AMC was launching its own rival subscription plan, MoviePass apparently ran out of money temporarily, and it also stopped letting users buy tickets to the biggest studio blockbusters via the app.
The app started, you’ll recall, as a kind of Netflix for moviegoers. Pay a flat fee, and you get to see a certain number of movies in a theater.
It all started with such grand ambitions. MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe, a former Netflix and Redbox executive, presumably had the right chops to make this a success. Lowe told BGR, just two years ago, that a subscription product like this is a great idea, because millennials are at a point where they love subscriptions — “and, by the way, 75 percent of our subscribers are millennials.”
Needless to say, it all hasn’t worked out so neatly since then.
We’ll see if things turn around this year. At the end of 2018, MoviePass announced a new three-tiered pricing structure to replace its current plan. Plans now range from $9.95 a month at the low end to $24.95 at the very top, and the benefits are staggered to include a rotating selection of films at the bottom, to anything in theaters minus 3D and IMAX movies on up to the priciest option that includes 3D and IMAX movies with that plan.