By: Madison Alworth
AMC Theaters rolled out its MoviePass competitor Tuesday, dealing another blow to a company that's been hemorrhaging money and trying one strategy after another to stay afloat.
"MoviePass's business model is fundamentally an unprofitable one," said Rob Marvin, associate features editor of PCMag.com, in an interview with Cheddar last week. "They are subsidizing movie tickets for millions of people."
The company, owned by data firm Helios & Matheson, charges customers $10 a month and allows them to see, essentially, a movie a day. AMC's Stubs A-List, by contrast, charges twice as much per month and lets users see up to 3 movies a week. MoviePass's model has been criticized as unsustainable and the business lost $150 million last year.
To reverse those fortunes, the service has made various changes. Earlier this year it faced backlash for seeming to end its unlimited movie offer and last week announced that it will introduce a kind of surge pricing, charging users more to see popular movies at high-demand times.
In an attempt to sweeten the bad news, MoviePass said members will be able to "Bring-A-Guest" and buy one extra ticket directly on the MoviePass app. And members will be able to see IMAX and 3D movies for an additional fee.
The struggles highlight the fear among many users that MoviePass's offer may be too good to be true.
"As a MoviePass user myself, it's been great," Marvin said. "I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think this is going to last forever. We're just riding this out for as long as we can go."
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