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Summary:

Moviepass, which is trying to launch a Netflix-like all-you-can-eat plan for moviegoers, is getting a second chance to launch thanks to a partnership with Hollywood Movie Money, which gives its users access to movie tickets across 36,000 screens in the U.S.

moviepass

After a false start earlier this summer, Moviepass might finally be able to launch its subscription movie ticket service, thanks to a partnership with theater voucher provider Hollywood Movie Money. The deal breathes new life into Moviepass, which had its first effort to create a Netflix-like, all-you-can-eat subscription plan shut down by movie theaters that threatened not to honor its tickets in late June.

The idea behind Moviepass is to enable avid moviegoers to pay a monthly subscription fee and then view as many films as they want during the 30-day period. Its original trial, expected to launch in July, was shut down before it began after theater chains rebelled against the service.

It’s getting another chance to launch now thanks to the new partnership with Hollywood Movie Money, which gives Moviepass users access to movie tickets across 36,000 screens in the U.S. To get tickets, users will log into the Moviepass site and print out vouchers, which will then be redeemed at the theater. While Moviepass’s initial plan for the service was to launch a limited trial in San Francisco, it’s now expected to launch nationally.

Pricing for the service is still being worked out, in part due to the wide gap between ticket prices in major metropolitan markets and those in more suburban or rural areas. As a result, Moviepass is expected to launch with zone-based pricing, according to a spokesperson, compared to the $50-a-month price that was originally quoted for the service. At launch, Moviepass subscriptions won’t include 3-D or IMAX movies, due to higher prices, but there’s the possibility of other plans being added, the spokesperson said.

Theaters would get paid the full price of their tickets by Moviepass (via Hollywood Movie Money), but there is still some concern that a subscription plan could set a bad precedent for theaters, which are trying to maintain their pricing leverage. At the same time, the ever-rising price of movie tickets is one reason why a plan like Moviepass would launch.

In addition to carrying all the risk in paying full price for movie tickets, Moviepass also argues that its service benefits theater owners by getting people into seats. That leads to more sales of soda, popcorn and candy, which is where the big theater chains actually make all their money. According to the Los Angeles Times, theater attendance is down about five percent over the course of the year so far.

While the first challenge Moviepass faced came from theater chains, there’s still some question about whether or not consumers will find value in the service. When it was first announced, the original $50-a-month price seemed prohibitive, except for a small group of cinephiles. A lot will depend on the final pricing for the service.

(Disclosure: MoviePass is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media. Om Malik, the founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a venture partner at True.)

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  1. OK, so if movie theaters really get their money from concessions (like charging $6 for 60¢ worth of popcorn), and they worry about getting butts in seats, then why take the counterintuitive action of raising ticket prices?

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  2. Hi:

    In Mexico there is a service like movie pass offered by the 2 largest chains Cinemex and Cinepolis. The service is a bit different because you buy a “all you can watch” but only in that specific chain. At the begining they used to push the product everywhere but now is only available for people that subscribed at the begining and they want to keep the service.

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  3. I rarely see 3D movies, and IMAX only if I think it’s worth it.
    http://bit.ly/oq9jwk

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  4. Personally, unless a truly good movie came out every two days, I wouldn’t pay $50 a month for this. With my schedule, I wouldn’t have enough time to actually see enough movies that would amount to 50 bucks or more. Tickets are relatively cheap here at $6.25 for matinee and $9 for after.

    I’m not saying that this won’t be successful. It’s just not for me.

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    1. $6.25 and $9? Where do you live??

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  5. Feedback from France :
    this offer is available since several years nationwide.
    Each big network has its own offer (UGC & Gaumont)
    For instance, UGC Illimité is 20€/month for 1 person.

    http://www.ugc.fr/typepage.do?alias=carteugcillimite

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  6. Wesley Williams Wednesday, August 31, 2011

    In the UK, the movie theatre chain Cineworld offer an all you can eat pass for £15 a month (approx the full price of two tickets). In order to see 3D films you have to pay £1.50 when purchasing your tickets, but all 2D screenings are included completely free in the subscription.

    You can also watch as many movies as you like within the month and on any given day. Although you may only book tickets for one movie at a time.

    From what I’ve read it’s doing really well and as a user of the service, I have to say it’s one of the best things I’ve ever bought.

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  7. I love movies, but I would not be willing to commit to paying $50 a month. I would consider $30 though.

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  8. Now, if they would give us access to the same movies showing in the theater – only via internet/streaming to our televisions THAT might be worth checking out. I am not going to buy something that requires me to plan ahead all month to head out to theaters and see movies. If available at home – I am much more likely to squeeze time in – in my recliner and in my pajamas – with my $.75 microwave bag of popcorn.

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  9. This idea is still stupid and will remain stupid until the pricing falls below the point where the middleman can make any profit. What the hell is in this for the consumer that justifies paying >more< for movies? Normal people cannot use enough movie tickets to justify this, already have access to discounted tickets (Costco), already have access to online booking (Fandango/Movie Tickets.com), etc.

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  10. Nouvel essai http://t.co/7ZH5FJTa RT @Mr_Gyo: Une carte “cinéma illimité” bientôt aux US http://t.co/UTASG0jf RT @cinema_internet

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