MoviePass’ latest survival plan: increase prices, gut first-run movie access

July has not been good for MoviePass, the embattled all-you-can-watch movie ticket subscription service. The company ran out of money and shut down for a night last week. It’s compensated by shutting people out of popular movies like Mission: Impossible — Fallout. The company has claimed lately that technical difficulties are keeping users from getting movie tickets, though it’s unclear whether this is also a behind-the-scenes gambit to limit how much of its remaining money users can spend. The MoviePass stock has plummeted. And now, MoviePass has announced a slew of changes that aim to “compress its timeline to reach profitability” — by making the service much more restrictive.

According to a company press release, MoviePass will increase its price to $14.95 a month within the next 30 days. First-run movies will only be viewable on a limited basis during the first two weeks of release, unless the company has a promotional deal with a given film. This is in addition to the already-announced plan to implement surge pricing for popular movies, which users have noted in practice has meant virtually all movies, regardless of ticket demand.

MoviePass’ statement claims these changes are being made “to enhance discovery, and to drive attendance to smaller films and bolster the independent film community.” In a widely reported all-hands meeting at the company, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe cited the upcoming Christopher Robin and The Meg specifically as films that would not be available to subscribers.

More broadly, MoviePass hopes to make smarter decisions about potential partnerships with studios and brands in the hopes of turning a profit, though no specific details were shared at this time.

“These changes are meant to protect the longevity of our company and prevent abuse of the service,” Lowe says. “While no one likes change, these are essential steps to continue providing the most attractive subscription service in the industry.”

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