Struggling MoviePass Converts Annual Subscriptions to Monthly Plans

Movie subscription service MoviePass has pulled the plug on annual subscriptions, telling those subscribers that they will have to adhere to the same terms as monthly subscribers.

The service made the announcement Friday in an email to those members and offered them prorated refunds if they want to cancel their annual memberships.

“We want to thank you for being a loyal member of our annual MoviePass plan,” the email said. “Your commitment to MoviePass has contributed to making our vision for an accessible and affordable moviegoing experience a reality. After experimenting with different models and options, we believe that our current monthly plan captures the need of our community — keeping prices low while continually striving to offer a wider selection of films.”

Until Friday’s announcement, subscribers to the $89 annual plans had been able to see a movie a day and had not been affected by the recent restrictions imposed on monthly subscribers. It announced on Aug. 23 that it was offering up to nine movies to choose from daily, whereas it told subscribers on Aug. 16 they’d be limited to six per day.

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“This new offering is part of the transition to our new subscription model,” MoviePass said Friday. “We’re excited to offer subscribers the option of going to three movies a month for $9.95 and providing up to a $5.00 discount for additional movie tickets. We are grateful to our MoviePass community and have offered a number of our annual subscribers the option for a refund if the new plan doesn’t align with their viewing preferences. With this transition, we intend to offer more film options so subscribers can continue exploring a wide variety of movies. We believe that our new plan is a positive change in the right direction and that it captures the needs and desires of most of our MoviePass community in our journey for an accessible and quality movie experience.”

This weekend, MoviePass’s lineup includes Melissa McCarthy comedy “The Happytime Murders.” But it excludes the two biggest movies currently in theaters: “The Meg” and “Crazy Rich Asians.” Other popular films in current release that are a no-show for MoviePass: “Mission: Impossible — Fallout,” “Christopher Robin,” and Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman.” The upcoming lineup includes indie films such as John Cho-starrer “Searching,” which bows at nine locations this weekend, along with “We the Animals,” “Papillon,” “An L.A. Minute,” “The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” “Skate Kitchen,” and “Juliet, Naked.”

The limited availability of blockbuster films stems from the fact that MoviePass pays a premium for the most in-demand moves during peak periods. The company’s dramatic curtailing of options for customers — coming off a loss of nearly $127 million for the second quarter — is another setback.

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