Whether or not MoviePass will survive is a matter to discuss for another day, but two things are certain: The movie subscription service has fundamentally altered the way Americans buy movie tickets, and it’s forced movie theater chains to re-evaluate the services they offer to patrons.
More: I tried MoviePass, and if you’re a movie lover, it’s almost too good to be true
Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse is no different.
Earlier this summer, the theater chain unrolled its "Season Pass" program in Yonkers, N.Y. to a select few beta users, with an option for other curious moviegoers to be put on a wait list.
According to a new article in Business Insider, that wait list now has more than 40,000 people on it after less than a month.
The business publication interviewed Drafthouse chief technology officer Mickey Trafton, who gave a rundown on what users of the new beta can expect (spoiler alert: A timeframe for a Texas rollout was not mentioned).
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According to Trafton, user demand will determine which cities the Season Pass goes to next, and that the beta will be tweaked constantly in order to determine the best plan when it finally goes live. Right now, Alamo Season Pass members can see an unlimited amount of 2D and 3D movies (excluding Drafthouse exclusive parties). Unlike MoviePass, Alamo Season Pass allows users to see the same movie as many times as they want. Also unlike MoviePass, customers do not have to be at the theater to buy tickets,a dn can buy more than one ticket at a time and reserve seats through the Drafthouse app.
More: MoviePass now officially has some Texas competition
The biggest piece of information from the interview, though, came when Trafton revealed a $15-$20 price point, hinting that Alamo is learning from the mistakes of MoviePass when it comes to pricing and limits:
"If you price it too high the causal moviegoer won't be interested and if you go too low you'll drive yourself out of business from overuse. The key variable is the price and then we have to determine what our members control, which is their behaviors, how often they see movies."
Much like how MoviePass co-founding CEO and current co-chairman Stacy Spikes described MoviePass at this point last year, the Alamo Season Pass is currently in a binge period, much like a gym membership. According to Trafton, the most frequent Season Pass users are only going to the theater every three days on average.
Related: 21 of our favorites times Alamo Drafthouse told us to shut up
Another interesting data point: Season Pass users are watching both indie films and blockbusters with equal enthusiasm.
"Our number one movie people are seeing with Season Pass is 'Mission: Impossible — Fallout,' but our number two movie is 'Eighth Grade.’ One of the big goals for having a subscription is to share independent films that we really think are the lifeblood of cinema and we love these movies and want to share them with as many people as possible. "
Trafton added that it will "be a while" until the Season Pass program is available at every Drafthouse location. To sign up to be put on the wait list, click here.