MoviePass subscribers have been growing increasingly frustrated with the service over the past few months, but for many, the rollout of the new peak pricing system this past weekend was the last straw.
A few weeks ago, MoviePass announced that users would soon be charged a few dollars extra to see certain popular movies. At first, it sounded like this would mainly apply to extremely popular showtimes for huge movies on opening weekend. So, for example, if you went to see the latest Marvel Studios film on a Friday night in a packed theater, you would have to pay a few dollars more.
But when the system rolled out this weekend, subscribers were surprised to find that virtually every wide release movie at every single showtime had a peak pricing fee. Even if you were going on Sunday morning, and even if you were seeing a film that had been out for weeks, you might still have to pay extra.
The peak pricing fee, as it turns out, has absolutely nothing to do with the popularity of a specific showtime at a specific theater. Many subscribers had the experience of paying the added fee and assuming that the screening must be sold out, only to find that there were barely any people there. Rather, the charge is based on the overall number of tickets sold for a movie in your region. So you might get charged a peak pricing fee to see a film at 9:00 a.m. on a Sunday, even if it’s a movie that didn’t open that weekend.
The rollout couldn’t have possibly gone over worse on the MoviePass subreddit, which was flooded with angry post after angry post from users who couldn’t believe that nearly every wide-release movie had an added fee attached to it. The second most upvoted post of the week was a thread titled “Cancelling my membership,” with a user explaining that MoviePass is no longer a good deal.
They wrote, “I wanted to support [MoviePass] instead of going to the AMC program, but this surge pricing is my last straw. Every showing is surging and the price is almost half of a regular ticket. Thanks MP for all the movies but you are no longer worth it. Good luck, and God bless.”
In the comments section, most Reddit users agreed. One wrote, “I’m generally a pretty sympathetic MP defender, but this is f*cking insane. If this is how they keep it going it will not be worth it anymore. $3-5 per movie, for every movie?” Another commenter summed up the situation by writing, “At this point, you’re just paying for a discount.”
On Twitter, the reactions to the peak pricing rollout were not any more positive.
@MoviePass really? Peak pricing for every show in an empty theater? No need to have this service if I have to pay an additional fee to see what I want to see. This may be my last month as a subscriber. VERY disappointed with this latest change of service. #moviepass pic.twitter.com/qikGgTbVVD
— Crystal Bailey (@baileyc619) July 14, 2018
— jess_meets_world (@jefferies321) July 13, 2018
This MoviePass surge shit?? NOT a fan, I'd rather they just raise the monthly price a reasonable amount than have to unexpectedly pay unspecified "fees" on what is essentially every single popular movie
— Virtuoso Sim Aspiration (@LeahCsMovies) July 15, 2018
Hey @MoviePass it’s not #surge pricing if it’s on every showtime of every movie in every theater. That’s just raising your prices and not being honest with your members. Time to try @AMCTheatres instead…
— Brendan (@imstanleyhudson) July 15, 2018
Of course, all of this comes at the worst possible time for MoviePass, as AMC just released its competitor, AMC A-List. It’s double the price of MoviePass, but it doesn’t come with any of the restrictions, such as only being able to see a movie once, only being able to see 2D movies, not being able to reserve seats, and now, being charged additional fees to see certain films on certain days.
On the AMC A-List subreddit this week, the top-voted thread of the week was full of users explaining that they had switched to A-List from MoviePass, with one describing this as the “MoviePass Surge Purge.”
At this time, nobody really knows whether the rollout of the peak pricing system is reflective of how things are going to work going forward, so some subscribers are just waiting to see how things shake out. If, for instance, peak pricing is only really an issue on the weekends, subscribers could simply choose to see movies during the week and still save a lot of money.
But if users continue to run into peak pricing on weeknights, as some did last week, this might mean that more and more subscribers will have to question whether this service is still a good deal for them.