The Industry

MoviePass’ Impossibly Great Deal Is Now a Little Less Great

The MoviePass app.
This thing surges now.
Mike Segar/Reuters

MoviePass’ whole business model seemed too good to be true: a flat fee for all the movies you want to see each month. As of Thursday, it’s drifted a little bit closer to sensible. MoviePass subscribers now have to pay extra to see popular movies at peak showtimes. The surge-pricing program, which rolled out on Thursday, will affect “movies that are high in demand for title, date, or time of day,” according to the company’s website. The company described the practice as providing “additional flexibility for us and our users around popular movies and times for which there is limited inventory” and said the program might be tweaked depending on how customers receive it.

So what kind of surge prices are we talking about? A screenshot published by TechCrunch shows that a moviegoer might have to pay $3.43 more to see Avengers: Infinity War at 7 p.m. than they would at 2 p.m.

Movies experiencing the surge pricing will have a red lightning icon displayed next to them on MoviePass’ app. Movies that are approaching a surge in price will have a gray lightning icon. Subscribers can waive one peak pricing fee per month.

The program will roll out for all members “in the coming weeks,” according to the company. It will not affect those in the middle of an annual plan who signed up before peak pricing.

The move comes as MoviePass faces financial troubles. The company’s monthly losses soared to $40 million in May, and the company has said it may need more than $1.2 billion in capital to keep pace with the growth of its subscriber base, which it expects to surpass 5 million by 2019. The company must also keep pace with the competition. Last month, AMC announced a competing movie subscription service called AMC Stubs A-List.