MoviePass's Cheaper Plan May Be Bad for Cash-Strapped Students

MoviePass just got cheaper, temporarily. But there's bad news, too.


The day your MoviePass card arrives in the mail is awesome. Even though it may take a few days for the card to process and for you to actually use it, the possibilities and freedom of going to a movie theater once a day for a mere $9.95 a month feels like stealing.

The news got better on Friday, when MoviePass announced it would lower its monthly fee to $7.95 a month during a “limited offer,” that also included a one-year subscription to the Fandor streaming service.

However, there’s a big difference between the new plan and the the old one: The original MoviePass was a subscription model that bills monthly at $9.95. The new, cheaper plan asks for $115.35 up-front, which covers the full year of movie-going. There’s no subscription option. This may be bad news for students, those cash-strapped members of the movie-going public, or anybody who doesn’t want to commit to a full year to a service they’re not sure about.

Here’s how one Twitter user learned of the news:

There are reasons MoviePass is likely charging for a full-year up-front. For one, the plan comes with a year of Fandor ($90 on its own), so payment will cover that. There are many reasons companies opt for full-year offers like this instead of monthly subscriptions. One possibility is that — although Inverse has no inside information — after six months, MoviePass saw or predicted dropped subscriptions in early 2018, arguably the worst month for movies, when theaters are full of poorly reviewed films that feel like mistakes.

MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe told The Hollywood Reporter he had not yet decided how long the limited offer would last. “We’re having fun. We’re energizing the movie industry; constantly experimenting.”

THR also reported that MoviePass — which just launched in 2011 but switched in August 2017 to the movie-a-day model — now makes up 5 percent of the country’s box office receipts, as the subscription startup pays full price for the tickets that its 2 million subscribers regularly account for.

MoviePass has done this before. In November, it offered a year of service for a price that broke down to $6.95 a month, but didn’t include the Fandor subscription. It was also a limited-time offer.

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