MoviePass and AMC have finally made peace.
Yesterday, the subscription service added 10 of AMC’s most popular theaters, including the Empire 25 cinema in Times Square, back onto its platform. AMC owns over 8,000 screens in the United States.
MoviePass, which allows subscribers to see one movie per day for as low as $6.95 a month, abruptly stopped servicing the large cinemas in January. The company claimed this was an experiment in consumer behavior to see if users would attend other nearby theaters if certain locations went offline.
But the real reason for the blackout was that AMC reportedly refused to accommodate MoviePass’ reduced ticket price plan. The theater chain also threatened to take legal action against MoviePass, which AMC CEO Adam Aron described as a “small fringe player” with an “unsustainable” business model.
Studios also love MoviePass because it gives their films a box office boost. During Oscar season, the company generated an estimated $128.7 million in extra box office dollars for nominated films.
And ironically, according to Deadline, MoviePass accounts for roughly $2 million in business for AMC locations every week.
Theater chains don’t lose any money working with MoviePass—the company pays full price for the tickets it gives to subscribers at a discount.
Most exhibitors give MoviePass a percentage of marketing and concessions costs in exchange for getting more people into theaters, but AMC hasn’t proposed a comparable deal yet.
Hopefully that changes soon because, according to Variety, the company is operating at a significant loss. This isn’t that surprising, since MoviePass takes on the cost of every ticket its users purchase and incentivizes frequent moviegoing.
But the company is now increasing revenue by selling the data it collects from customers to theater chains and selling ads to studios. So if you thought you were being slick using MoviePass to see Fifty Shades Freed five times, you’ve now been found out.
And as an added revenue stream, MoviePass is including access to the independent film streaming service Fandor with every subscription.
The service also launched a new film production and distribution subsidiary called MoviePass Ventures, which made its first acquisition at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
So someday soon, consumers may be able to use their MoviePass at an AMC theater and then see a MoviePass logo before the movie begins. Talk about irony.