While some large theater chains like AMC have opposed the popular MoviePass service, a new report from Business Insider today dives into how MoviePass is affecting smaller, independent movie theaters. The report explains how smaller theaters are more than happy to embrace the MoviePass business model if it means getting more people in the theater…
While MoviePass reimburses theaters for the full ticket amount, chains like AMC have expressed doubt when it comes to the sustainability of the service. AMC, the largest theater operator in the U.S., issued a blistering press release last year saying MoviePass would be unable to “provide sufficient revenue to operate quality theatres nor will it produce enough income to provide film makers with sufficient incentive to make great new movies.”
Many smaller theaters, however, are more willing to take risks when it comes to taking steps to attract moviegoers, the report explains. Those theaters are more willing to risk MoviePass running out of cash to pay the full ticket price than they are to struggle to keep the doors open.
As Business Insider puts it, theaters are happy to take the money from MoviePass
“We don’t promote it, we don’t oppose it, we want to make our customers happy and if they want to use MoviePass then we do it,” Dylan Skolnick, co-director of Cinema Arts Centre, an arthouse in Long Island, told Business Insider.
And that’s the same sentiment made by most theaters owners and marketing heads Business Insider spoke to. Theaters are reimbursed the full ticket price from MoviePass for the tickets their customers purchase. Independent theaters are happy to take the money MoviePass is giving them and willing to take the grief from their customers when the MoviePass app doesn’t work or there are claims of being overcharged — as long as MoviePass keeps sending the money.
Some theater owners are concerned, however, with what could happen if MoviePass shuts down. “My only concern is if this company does shut down that the customers who have gotten used to it and love it will go back to how they felt about movie tickets,” one marketing director for an independent theater chain.
Concerns of MoviePass shutting down are legitimate, too. An SEC filing earlier this month revealed that MoviePass’ owner, Helios & Matheson, was running tight on cash as MoviePass runs through around $21.7 million per month. Today, Helios & Matheson’s stock fell to a new all-time low of 54 cents, as noted by Deadline.