Now that MoviePass has taken off and earned the loyalty of a pretty sizable fan base, it’s starting to see some competition from a Texas-based theater chain.
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MoviePass is a film subscription service that allows users to watch a movie a day in theaters at a monthly price that’s roughly the same as the cost of Netflix. It’s a deal that’s great for consumers, but not great for other theater chains (and, some are arguing, it’s not great in the short run for MoviePass, either). That’s where the Plano-based Cinemark Theater chain comes in.
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For $8.99 a month, a new Cinemark Movie Club pass gets you one ticket a month, usable only at Cinemark theaters. However, you can roll over unused tickets that you don’t use and save them up for summer blockbusters or awards season. This is cheaper than MoviePass’s $9.95 a month subscription, but doesn’t offer the same amount of potential tickets as MoviePass.
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Cinemark operates more than 500 theaters across the country, including seven in the Austin area (one is in Southpark Meadows). Their new subscription deal is nowhere near as appealing to hardcore moviegoers, but that’s not Cinemark’s target market for this deal, Cinemark’s chief executive Mark Zoradi told the Dallas Morning News.
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“What we tried to do is design a program not for the person that’s coming to the movies five or six times or seven times a month, but for the person that’s coming … four or five times a year. Maybe we can encourage that person to come six or seven times a year.”
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MoviePass has already started a counter-campaign to the Cinemark pass.
Zoradi told the Morning News that he doesn’t see MoviePass as the biggest threat to the movie industry — it’s empty seats. To that end, MoviePass cards are still allowed in Cinemark theaters.
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“Anything that helps drive attendance to movies we support,” he told the Morning News.
Other theater chains aren’t as friendly. Right after MoviePass slashed its subscription prices, American Multi-Cinema Theatres (AMC) threatened MoviePass, saying that their low subscription model “is not in the best interest of moviegoers, movie theatres and movie studios,” Variety reported. “We are actively working now to determine whether it may be feasible to opt out and not participate in this shaky and unsustainable program,” AMC said in a statement.
[H/t Texas Monthly]