LESS FOR MORE

MoviePass is raising its price to $15 a month

MoviePass had to do something to stay in business.
MoviePass had to do something to stay in business.
Image: AP Photo/Darron Cummings
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Well, it was good deal while it lasted.

MoviePass is raising the price of its monthly plan by $5, or 50%, and imposing new limits on its movie-ticket subscription service to stay in business.

The ailing company said on Tuesday (July 31) that it would raise the price of its standard plan to $14.95 per month within the next 30 days. That’s a little less than the average cost of 2 movie tickets in the US, or one ticket in an expensive market like New York City.

The price hike will roll out to existing members after their current monthly cycle ends, MoviePass added to Quartz. Members on an annual plan, which has a standard price of $89.95, will not be affected.

MoviePass said it would begin limiting the availability of new wide releases—those that open on more than 1,000 screens—during their first two weeks in theaters to cut down on costs, as well. Subscribers will not be able to select those titles within the app to get tickets in those cases. MoviePass subscribers were shut out of the sixth Mission:Impossible film over the weekend, with no warning, as MoviePass began rolling out the change. Members will reportedly be blocked from seeing this weekend’s Christopher Robin release and next weekend’s The Meg.

The rate hike and restrictions come nearly a year after MoviePass slashed the price of its service to $9.95 per month, or roughly the cost of Netflix, to get into a movie showing per day at most US cinemas, down from $15-$50 a month. By doing so, it hoped to attract casual moviegoers. Since then, its subscriber has base ballooned from tens of thousands of members to more than 3 million, as people—particularly in major metro areas where moviegoing is expensive—were drawn to its promise of cheap tickets.

But MoviePass took a big financial hit to support the pricing scheme. Parent Helios and Matheson burned an average of $27 million a month for the last nine months bankrolling its subsidiary. MoviePass now says it’s cutting its monthly deficit by 60% with some of the new measures.

The company will also look for other ways to “prevent abuse of the MoviePass service,” it said in the release today. A few weeks ago, MoviePass began charging fees to see popular movies during peak times, and restricted members from seeing titles more than once earlier this year.

Shares of Helios and Matheson rose 2.4% to $0.82 on the news of the price hike and cost-cutting measures, at the time of this writing.

As MoviePass stumbles, rival AMC Theatres, which launched a subscription service of its own, AMC Stubs A-List, announced that it signed up 175,000 members in its first five weeks.