CHA-CHING

MoviePass is going to start charging more for popular movies next month

MoviePass needs to start making money somehow.
MoviePass needs to start making money somehow.
Image: AP Photo/Darron Cummings
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As if seeing a popular movie with MoviePass—where you can’t reserve tickets in advance—wasn’t stressful enough, it’s about to get more expensive, too.

The movie-ticket subscription service, which charges $9.95 per month to see a movie a day in the US, will start surge pricing on popular movies next month, Business Insider reported. MoviePass will charge subscribers $2 or more to see titles that the app decides are very popular with its members beginning in July, Mitch Lowe, MoviePass’s CEO, told the publication.

He was vague on the details. “At certain times for certain films—on opening weekend—there could be an additional charge for films,” Lowe said, calling the forthcoming policy “high-demand” pricing. But if you’ve paid for a year’s subscription to MoviePass upfront, don’t worry: Lowe said these subscribers would not be subjected to the new pricing policy.

MoviePass will begin rolling out two other previously announced features, like the option to upgrade to premium movie formats such 3D and IMAX, or bring a friend to the movies, by August, Lowe added.

MoviePass said in a statement to Quartz that the additional fee for some “high-demand showings” would help “drive attendance to theaters during their slow times.” It said it would begin testing the three new programs in the coming weeks.

The news comes as MoviePass’s parent company, Helios and Matheson Analystics, revealed in a filing on today, June 21, that it was spending cash quickly and may need more than $1.2 billion in additional capital to keep MoviePass, and its various ventures, afloat. Helios and Matheson said it burned through $40 million during the month of May, up from a previously reported average of $21.3 million per month from October 2017 through April 2018. It expects to post a cash deficit of $45 million for the month of June, because MoviePass’s subscriber base has been growing faster than expected and the “strong box office results of recently released films.”

The company added 545,000 new paying subscribers between May 1 and June 15, it said in the filing, which also announced the company was selling $164 million in convertible notes, or bonds.

Update (2:40pm EST): This post was updated with a statement from MoviePass.