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Cinemark announces $8.99/mo. subscription to fill more seats, take on MoviePass (latimes.com)
104 points by smacktoward on Dec 6, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 143 comments

Seems like this is the direction the industry is going, however the actual service here is much worse than MoviePass' (seemingly unsustainable) model. MoviePass is $9.95 for one movie per day.


>...customers who pay a monthly fee of $8.99 will receive a credit for one movie ticket a month. Subscribers can also buy additional tickets for $8.99 each and get a 20% discount on food and drinks.

That doesn't sound like a subscription. That sounds like you're paying $8.99 for a ticket once a month. Why wouldn't you just buy an $8.99 ticket as-needed?

Can you get a $8.99 ticket without a subscription?

These models (subscribe and get 1/month free) are not that uncommon - e.g. Audible. Usually you get a cheaper price, since you're more likely to keep paying and are therefore more profitable overall. Here even more, due to potential spending on concessions.

Heck, if I go on Bargain Tuesday it's $5.75 and you get a free popcorn with each ticket. It's a really nice theatre too. Regular price is $9.50, but that's still not much more.

In Australia, US$5.75 would only get you the popcorn. Until a recent price war, movie tickets for adults have been approaching AU$20.

Heh, quick googling tells me that it's less than 400$ to go to Kuala Lumpur. If I were so inclined, I'd go once a year, get pirated DVDs of all the movies I want, have some awesome food and come back.

While you're in Kuala Lumpur, seeing movies in the theater is also quite reasonable. When I was there last year it was anywhere between RM9.50 and RM22 (~RM4 = 1 USD) depending on theater options. Some of the movies were even released there prior to the US release.

I'd stopped going to theaters in the US since I don't think most movies are worth the US price, but I rediscovered how enjoyable it can be...the theaters were all very modern and comfortable and for some bizarre reason, Malaysians like to sit all the way in the back and to the sides. I'd have ticket takers look at me incredulously when I chose seats that would be considered perfect in the US (dead center, just far enough back to not have to crane my neck).

Totally agree on the food too...I miss roti telur!

Yes many movies are released internationally before they are in the US. When I lived in India I got to see most major releases before the US release. I assume Malaysia is a pretty similar market.

Ha, all the way back and to the sides are my favorite type of movie neighbors.

The last time I went to the movies, I spent nearly AU$50 for my single ticket, a box of popcorn, a chocolate bar and a drink.

Bandwidth providers in Australia crack down more on piracy

Im not sure about that. But eve if true clearly not very effectively as AU is one of the highest piracy nations in the western world.


Tickets in Seattle are about $12-15 at the usual theatres. Nicer places can be $17-20.

For me $9 seems like a steal (I usually go see at least one movie a week)

To be fair I live in a medium sized town in the southeast US near Chattanooga, TN. Things here tend to be cheaper. It's kind of funny, everyone here gets mad at paying $14 or so for IMAX. "Too much!" they say.

From the article:

"The average domestic ticket price (including matinee showings) reached a near record level of $8.93 in the quarter that ended in September, according to the National Assn. of Theatre Owners"

I don't know how it works in the US, but here that would include a lot of discounted tickets (students, seniors, promotions, etc). The average for a middle-aged adult going after work or on weekends would be much higher than the overall average.

The local Cinemark charges $8.00 for a evening admission to a 3D movie. Non-3D is $5.50, and a matinee is $3.50.

Amusingly enough, the website still tried to pitch me the $8.99 monthly subscription for one movie in a month. Um, no thanks. :)

When I joined Yahoo in 2013, there was a store on campus that sold AMC tickets for 8.50. I got 300 of those mid-2014, and am a handful of tickets away from running out now. I may go back and visit a friend if they are still selling those.

I think tickets are around 12 or so in AMC, and sometimes higher for 3D movies (I don't think there have been more than a handful in the recent past) or certain releases (Star Wars pre-order on Fandango is 19$ now). Those stubs are always 1:1 though.

You’ve watched 300 movies at AMC in the past 3.5 years??? Or are you playing some arbitrage here

Shitty arbitrage I guess, but it wasn't my goal. I just stocked up so I won't have to go get tickets again.

I've definitely watched more than 300 movies in English Hindi and Tamil, but not at AMC alone. I use the tickets for my friends, wife, etc too.

It may be worth it in some areas, though in others during off-peak times the normal adult price is $5.

Yeah I live in the bay area, tickets are very rarely $5 here.

Costco sells Regal tickets for $9. But I also live in a small town and can get them for $8.50

Looks like some bozo MBA crunched some numbers and came up with a bad business model for cineMark. Go MoviePass!

In some places, 2D tickets cost more than that. You also get 20% off concessions.

Plus upcharges 'may apply':

"Valid on all regular 2D movies. Upcharges may apply for premium formats like XD, 3D or IMAX. Upcharges may apply in Cinemark reserve dine-in - 21 and over theater in Bellevue, WA and Cinemark Playa Vista and XD in Playa Vista, CA"

To be fair, Moviepass only allows standard 2D movies - no premium formats either. So that's at least the same between the programs.

Actually, I'd say this is better. Moviepass doesn't even give you the option to pay (the difference, presumably) more and see the "better" (chortle) version.

So for $8.99/mo I can go to one movie a month (which is a little higher than matinee pricing around here), but only at Cinemark. Option 2 is spend $1/mo more with MoviePass but I can go to a movie every day, and I can use it at my local independent theater. Kind of a no-brainer here...

Yeah but I’ll be extremely surprised if MoviePass is still in business with the same model in a couple years.

Although...you can say that about Cinemark or theaters as a whole right now. AMC Theater stock prices have plunged in the last year. Culture shifts have killed theaters before in the US like with drive-in theaters which were decimated by such a shift.

Both services have ruined the thing that differentiated 'unlimited movies' from just buying movie tickets which is seeing a bunch of movies as an event. Just go from 6:00 to 2:00 and watch anything that looks good or funny.

Cinemark is not in competition with MoviePass. If someone uses a MoviePass, Cinemark makes money because MoviePass bought a ticket. The reason Cinemark is losing money is because they have a bad product. They show terrible Hollywood films, have terrible seats, and terrible food. I still go to the theater, but when I do, I go to theaters like Alamo Draft House (Austin), Hollywood Theater (Portland), Manor Theater (Pittsburgh), Broadway Theater (Salt Lake City).

My local Cinemark recently remodeled all the rooms to have fantastic reclining seats and reserved seating. In my experience, the trendy or upscale theaters like Alamo Draft House have far worse seats and screens. If I want $10 craft beers I can buy those at a store and drink them at home. The only reason I'm going to a cinema is to have the best possible comfort, picture, and audio.

The one in Mountain View, CA is like this as well... It's so great!!! No stress in any way to go to the movies, or even getting up to go to the bathroom. I've easily gone to the movies 10 times as much over the past few years because of it. And I pretty much refuse to go see a movie anywhere else. I'm sure many people have the same feeling as there's rarely an empty seat. I really hope they're making money as I would hate for this to be a short lived trend.

Have you been to the Hollywood Theater in Portland? They have a 70mm film projector something no Cinemark has. You can see movies like Dunkirk in the format the director intended.

There's certainly an appeal to specific formats like 70mm, but that comes along fairly rarely. I haven't been to Portland, but I have seen 70mm films in classic theaters. They're rarely comfortable, the sound usually sucks, and the lack of stadium seating can be brutal, but you're there for the insane effort that went into end-to-end 70mm production.

Of course, I saw Dunkirk in IMAX 70mm projection at the Metreon in San Francisco, which is a state of the art screening room, but that will probably only ever happen every few years. Sadly the Metreon recently remodeled with completely terrible seats (only in the IMAX room), so I'm rarely tempted to go there.

Seats in the IMAX room is indeed very bad. It’s sad because the screen is 2nd largest in North America. But your only memory of the movie becomes how much pain your back and behind are. Try the shoreline cinemark in MV, very comfy seats!

The Metreon IMAX is such a shame. They installed that incredible new digital projector (Dolby laser, I believe) but at the same time ruined the seats.

There's definitely Cinemark theaters with 70mm. I saw Dunkirk at one.

More importantly, though, not very many movies were/are shot in that format. Not enough to really build a business on.

70mm film?

A number of Cinemark theaters that featured Dunkirk in 70mm listed here: http://www.slashfilm.com/dunkirk-70mm-locations/

There's nothing stopping one from going to a special theatre for that one film shot in 70mm. But most movies are not that.

You are ignoring all the other arguments. Better movies, better food, a general lack of children.

Which Alamo do you go to? I've two in proximity and the quality of service and comfort is different enough to go to different ones depending on the movie I'm seeing.

Additionally, I will pay for the more expensive Alamo ticket every time because of their fanaticism about NOT TALKING during the move

The Cinemark on International Drive in Orlando is fantastic. Cheap prices and big comfy reserved seating. Can't comment on the food but the snacks and drinks are much lower priced than anywhere else I've been recently.

Are the theaters you list known for good films / good food / good seats?

A theater showing great classic films with great seats would be a nice change and as a 30-something, quite an affordable entertainment option.

Can only really speak for Alamo Drafthouse, but yes to all. Reserve seating ahead of time, order food/drinks off a menu at your seat + sometimes movie-specific menu items.

They do a lot of classic movie showings on various days, there are Signature Series events https://drafthouse.com/austin/series that fit more to a theme, Terror Tuesdays, Afternoon Tea, etc. Master Pancake is also incredibly popular which is a live comedy showing of a movie.

All that and the fanaticism about no talking and no phones

They all have better food than Cinemark, and they all show better films than Cinemark. Most of them have better seats.

My local cinemark is by far the best theater in the area. Large, leather recliners, reserved seating, and a variety of special events (Anime, classic movies, and things like the Dr. Who christmas special) make it pretty nice. I can't comment on their food other than popcorn, which I thought was average. It's not quite the Alamo Draft House, but between it and my local indie theater, I think we have it pretty nice.

Shout out to the Broadway Theater! Awesome independent films and great community.

If you like the Alamo Drafthouse, next time you're in SLC check out Brewvies.

It seems as though the cinema is finally entering a secular contraction. Home video hardware is getting cheaper and higher quality. Content going straight to netflix/hbo/hulu is getting better. And sitting in front of a movie sucking down 32oz of sugar water and fat soaked popcorn doesn't sound quite so appealing these days.

I'll see the new Star Wars, no doubt about that, but besides that I can't remember a time in my life when I went to the movies less than I do now. For the same price, I can get a nice meal out and watch a movie at home.

Value proposition on theaters is very low.

The popcorn isn't even good. I want butter and salt evenly distributed throughout the entire bucket, not a disgustingly over seasoning top inch, and a bland inedible bottom 90%.

The cheapest matinee is a Tuesday 5.75 about 20m from me. It's just not worth it at all. Serialized dramas that I binge watch are killing movies. Attention economy continues to forces changes in old media.

I ask them to fill it up halfway, then I add "butter," return to the counter to have it filled the rest of the way, and return for a second "butter" round to ensure even coverage.

Not everyone has self-service butter.

Or just ask the person filling it up to do it for you.

Yup. Fill with corn halfway, butter, then shake the bag. Fill to the top and butter again. Don't butter with less than half the bag filled or you will soak the bottom and get soggy corn. If the theatre won't do this, go to an independent.

for the prices paid, it should be done for us. if not by machine, then by hand.

>Value proposition on theaters is very low.

The value is that it is the most effective form of DRM around. TV, video games, books, music all get ripped same day. Movies pirated version look like garbage for months.

> The popcorn isn't even good.

Have you tried popcorn at every independent operator and chain on the planet or is this based on your own subjective experience? Come to Oakville, Ontario and I will give you a bag of the best popcorn you have ever had, until then, reserve judgement.

Also, salt (Flavacol) is added along with the raw kernels while making popcorn. It is always evenly distributed. This is true for virtually every movie theatre there is.

You forgot broken seats, sticky seats and floors, other movie goers talking and looking at their devices, etc. The last time we went to the theater a woman seated next to my wife kept getting up and leaving. Finally she came back and spilled her beer all over my wife. Then sat back down without apologizing. We haven't been back to the theater since.

While it's lower than at its peak, 2016 still beat 1995 in inflation-adjusted dollars, so they're not doing too badly: https://www.the-numbers.com/market/

Or at least Walt Disney isn't: they got 7 of the last 10 top grossing movies of the year.

Wow! I had no idea domestic (infl. adj.) sales peaked in 2002.

I still love going to the movies and go now as much as ever, and will probably go much more now that I have MoviePass. I like being able to watch movies on the huge screen without all the distractions (roommates trying to talk to me, phone checking habits, etc.).

One of the theatres here in Canada has now started offering VR experiences. They have a lounge area with about 8 different experiences, with prices in the $12-15 range for 15 minutes. Gotta give them full marks for attempting something new.

A dollar a minute seems substantially overpriced.

This is why Alamo Drafthouse my only choice. Comfortable seating, prepicked seating, no ads before movies, and you can order drinks/snacks/dinner at your seat.

And they take movie pass.

I find Alamo service slow, food poor and the seats are not that comfortable. Have you been to the new recliner theaters? They are a much better experience.

What city are you in?

> sucking down 32oz of sugar water and fat soaked popcorn doesn't sound quite so appealing these days.

This is why I go to the movies!

> The Plano, Texas-based company on Tuesday said customers who pay a monthly fee of $8.99 will receive a credit for one movie ticket a month.

> It’s also the cinema industry’s first direct answer to MoviePass, a New York start-up that offers unlimited movies in theaters for $9.95 a month.

How do they expect this to be successful when the average customer should be able to understand 1/day > 1/month?

Because one per day is completely unsustainable and they only need to last longer than MoviePass burns VC money and fails?

It's only unsustainable because of the current royalty structure. Most of the money actual theaters make is on concessions and I'm more likely to buy concessions when I'm not paying $15 per person for a single movie ticket.

i have always heard that movies make most of their profit from concessions. if that is the case, i'm not at all surprised they're failing. i've always brought my own snacks because they're cheaper and/or tastier, and i rarely get given shit for it. the minute they make me feel uncomfortable about it, i stop patronizing that theatre.

Concession prices are why I stopped going to the movies. Unless I eat right before hand, I'm going to want a snack during the movie, but I'm not going to pay $15 for a Coke and some popcorn.

its pretty much the gas station model

How much would you pay for concessions if the theater didn't show movies because they didn't like the royalties? Or if they didn't show the movie you apparently want to see?

It's not a binary decision, the royalty structure is set in stone by movie studios and distributors. Theaters have no choice right now on how to license the movies and that's the part that is unsustainable (because theaters have almost no control over the price of a ticket). That's the truth of why the theater model is unsustainable and is more and more hard pressed to get traffic.

Giving theaters more lee-way on how to pay for the movies they are licensing will allow for much more competitive opportunities and differentiation between theaters.

But how can MoviePass change the royalty structure?

>Because one per day is completely unsustainable and they only need to last longer than MoviePass burns VC money and fails?

Are we sure about that, though? I assume these people are not complete idiots. I assume they had a team of economists and business analysts crunch the numbers on this beforehand. The cost of a ticket seems trivial to the added benefit of having your theater full of hungry, thirsty patrons at what would otherwise be off-peak times. I think this is going to be a massive boon to the industry, and may even see theaters evolve into more like "family fun centers" and general hangout locations.

Because most people probably only go to an average of one movie a month (or less), and the new service rolls over unused credits? Basically, if you go to 12 movies or less a year, MoviePass is more expensive.

Not necessarily. Movie tickets in San Francisco run about $14-18. I pay $9.95 for MoviePass, so even if I see a movie every 6-7 weeks, I still come out ahead.

You will come out ahead versus just buying tickets directly, but you will come out BEHIND using this new Cinemark service. The question was how can Cinemark compete with MoviePass, not about MoviePass versus individual seat purchases.

Assuming you have equivalent quality cinemark theaters everywhere you have other theaters. There is one cinemark theatre in SF and it doesn’t show all major films. There are some 8 theaters in SF you can use with movie pass.

How does this take on Moviepass? MoviePass lets you watch 1 movie per day, whereas this is 1 movie per month with a very modest discount on concessions.

Yeah, now the concessions will only have 240% markup. Wooo.

Easier just to bring in outside food, and in most cases the quality is guaranteed to be better.

Probably the opposite as long as MoviePass is paying the full ticket price to the theaters.

Concessions are how most theaters make any money. What do you suggest instead?

Considering this as fact (that concessions make the money), I would think a theatre would do everything in it's power to make purchasing and consuming concessions the most pleasant aspect of movie going that they possibly could.

Having to juggle sodas, popcorn, napkins, etc., is always an adventure in the negative sense when I go to the movies.

Getting out of that business.

Because the credits roll-over from month to month. So if you watch less than 12 movies a year, then this service will be ~$12 cheaper.

I'm confused why Movie Theatres don't actively promote MoviePass to their customers.

Isn't MoviePass paying full ticket value to the theatres? They should be offering people discounts to show their movie pass cards on concessions, and otherwise get people showing up for free subsidized movies while they can.

Am I missing something?

Their concern is the long term consequence, not the short term benefit.

> and otherwise get people showing up for free subsidized movies while they can. The issue comes in when the "free subsidized movies" ends, but consumers are left with the expectation that the economics of movie sales can support that model. If MoviePass's business model turns out to be unsustainable and shuts down, all of the consumers that have gotten used to it will suddenly baulk at paying retail rates again. Rates that, while discussed as expensive, were accepted as the status quo prior to MoviePass.

The alternative also isn't pleasant for the theater: The economics of MoviePass work out, but now MoviePass has the relationship with the consumer. As it gets more popular, MoviePass gets more market power to dictate discounted rates with your theater, with the implicit threat of blacklisting your theater from MoviePass locations if you don't play ball. While in theory that doesn't hurt the theater, since such a high percentage of box office revenue goes to distributors rather than to the theater, distributors won't take that squeeze either. They'll either shift back to fixed-cost film distribution (which theaters don't like, because it's risky) or start adding in more and more onerous minimum guarantees to contracts to make up the absolute dollar difference. i.e. if your distributor gets 95% of box office revenue, slashing ticket prices from $10 to $5 only costs you $0.25 in revenue but it costs them $4.75. While you can make up your very minimal lost revenue from concessions easily, they can't. They're not going to eat that quietly, no matter how much additional volume you generate.

I'm not so sure this is always the case.

If MP tanks, I prob go back to my baseline of maybe 4 movies a year, but it's possible I'd be used to seeing more movies to I'd go more often. I probably wouldn't end up going less than my previous MP viewing.

Movies theatres want the popcorn / soda sales so it doesn't matter much how MP negotiates the price, since they don't get much of that anyway.

> so it doesn't matter much how MP negotiates the price, since they don't get much of that anyway

But it does matter. Because there's always the potential for the theater to go from barely getting any ticket revenue to actively losing money for every ticket sold. Concession sales then start subsidizing box office revenue to pay distributors, eating away at your one profit center.

Take two scenarios for how distributors, the ones that take most of the ticket revenue, make money:

Scenario A, the status quo: 1000 tickets a day x $10/each x 95% of ticket revenue = $9,500/day going to the distributor

Scenario B, assuming MP is a raging success, has captured the majority of the movie-going market, and is able to muscle the theater to give it a 50% discount on ticket rates: (200 non-MP tickets x $10/each + 800 tickets x $5/each) * 95% of ticket revenue = $5,700/day in revenue going to the distributor

Even though the distributor still keeps the majority of box office revenue by percentage, that's a substantial discount to what they're used to and they're not going to just let the theater pass that loss off to them completely. So now, instead of just 95% of box office sales, they want 95% with a minimum guarantee, or want concession added into the percentage distribution, which could work out to paying substantially out of concession profit if your ticket sales don't hit that minimum (basically moving the risk back onto the theater, which is exactly what theaters so enthusiastically tried to avoid by moving from fixed-fee distribution to percentage-based distribution).

While MP would also theoretically increase foot traffic to the theater, and thereby making up the loss in revenue per ticket by a higher quantity of lower revenue tickets being sold, there's only so much unused capacity during peak time already that there's a physical limit to how much additional volume an existing theater can absorb. If MP increased viewership during off-peak times when the theater's are mostly empty (like midday, midweek showings), then it might be beneficial to both the distributor and theater owner. But otherwise, one of those parties tends to come out of it worse than before MP.

I appreciate the detail and depth here.

My intuition is still that the correct move is to enjoy the revenue opportunity.

Granted, that is based on a "MoviePass won't last" assumption.

I think the end game for Movie Pass is them buying/building their own theaters.

Thst seemingly doesn't solve the problem that makes them unsustainable, since; they'd have to buy/establish their own studios to do that.

You are missing the power the theaters lose to MoviePass. MoviePass is almost assuredly not sustainable in its current business model. It is only a matter of time until they go to the theater chains with data saying X% of your customers are because of us, give us Y% of that revenue or we will direct our subscribers to competing theaters.

Couldn't they just milk it until that happens and then release a more sustainable option?

If the theatres say no, what is MoviePass's option? They have no real control there.

I'm not claiming to know everything about this, literally just a 23 year old wanting to learn more.

How is this different from me (hypothetically) with a ton of money offering to give everyone their weeks groceries for $10 a month for $40 worth of goods and then turning around and saying to the grocery chain pay me $x for this. It just seems completely bizarre, if they could already offer the price they are asking , why wouldn't they do that instead of paying the middleman?

Because the unlimited aspect of MoviePass likely changes user behavior.

Let's throw together a simplified example scenario. Imagine a user that previously went to the movies 12 times a year paying $10 per ticket. In a world without MoviePass the theater collects $120 from that customer. However with MoviePass that user might now go 15 times a year and the theater collects $150 total from MoviePass. That is an added $30 in revenue for the theater that was created by MoviePass. The theater still comes out ahead of any revenue sharing model with MoviePass that costs them less than $30 per year. Perhaps more importantly they also reduce the risk that the customer's $120-$150 per year ends up going to a different theater across town that is willing to make an agreement with MoviePass.

> Couldn't they just milk it until that happens and then release a more sustainable option?

No, because consumers aren't rational value maximizers even if businesses might sometimes approximate that; consumer behavior is strongly shaped by path-dependent expectation setting, and once theaters have let MoviePass model become dominant enough to set pricing expectations, they will catastrophically lose business if that model collapses. Eventually, if they survive, he public might be drawn back, so the industry might survive in some form, but each individual firm in the industry faced serious risk of being wiped out by that.

It's much better for them to not encourage MoviePass to consumers and do everything practical to distrsct from it while finding other ways to attract price-conscious customers in a more sustainable way.

Sure, but charging more than a couple bucks to see a movie isn’t sustainable either—either way movie theaters are fucked if they try to peg profits to tickets.

Moviepass(MP) does two things: (a) it can bring in people who otherwise would not go to theaters; (b) it can convert regular movie goers (regular customers of movie theaters) as customers of MP.

Exhibitors like AMC, Cinemark, etc are happy with (a). They are worried about (b). MP will end up being the majority buyer of tickets sold by exhibitors; when it happens, MP will negotiate hard for tickets.

What if MP goes bankrupt after converting a sizeable number of customers of exhibitors into MP's customers? This is why AMC/Cinemark is blocking e-tickets for MP customers; they are also blocking any reward points for MP customers, even though MP pays full price for every ticket since it is paid through master card.

If the model is, as everyone says, unsustainable and money losing, then the more popular it is, the more people will stop going to movies entirely because their price expectations have been reset when the MoviePass model collapses.

If it's going to fail, theaters are best off with it having as few users as possible until then.

As far as I understand, the theaters get little to no revenue on ticket sales. But I guess it would still make sense to advertise since it means more snacks will be sold (on average).

Depends. On a major tent pole release the theater will only be getting ~20% of revenue for the first couple of weeks. Later in the release cycle the split gets much more even

MoviePass is a data play, right? After signing up recently, I read their terms of service and it seems like they exist in order to build customer profiles and harvest data:

https://www.moviepass.com/content/terms See "18. Collection and Use of Non-Personal Information"

It's not that I object to this particular instance of this practice. I, for one, am willing to trade my movie-going data for cheap movie tickets. However, I am genuinely confused about how they intend to keep it going.

What data is MoviePass able to collect that Fandango doesn't have access to?

Since they’ve offer such a great deal, you’ll probably use their service for every movie that you can.

With fandango, you have to make a conscious decision to use them as an intermediary every time.

It’s reasonable to expect that MoviePass will, over time, have a more comprehensive (less sparse) record of movies you’ve gone to theaters to see.

They’ve been quite explicit in that it is a data-play


Thanks for this link. I hadn't seen it until now.

The more I think about MoviePass the less I like the model. In http://www.businessinsider.com/moviepass-business-model-2017... they say they're trying to offset high ticket prices in some places with lower ticket prices in other places. What kind of business model tries to shift money from places that have less to places that have more?

Edit: had the last part backwards, d'oh

I think their ideas about a business model are hogwash.

Even in places where the movies are $6/month, they would need huge numbers of people to sign up, and use the service 0-1 times per month, month after month..

That doesn't seem realistic. Even with their new contract model, I don't see this working.

I don't see how they could possibly survive without inventing a new revenue model.

In the meantime, I'll keep enjoying my VC subsidized movies :)

Isnt this the “communism” they are talking about all the time? Rich paying for the poor?

Don't you have that backwards? They require people with lower ticket prices to pay the same amount as people with higher ticket prices. So the "poor" (or people the movie theaters think won't pay more money, anyway) are paying for the "rich".

Oh yeah thats right but I was talking about VCs subsidizing our movies, taxi rodes, food. Its kind of nice.

Hehe, yes. At least before they gather up all our personal data, secret habits and sell them to the highest bidder.

>What kind of business model tries to shift money from places that have more to places that have less?

The NFL and the (US) federal government come to mind.

Another poster explained that their goal is to intermediate -- to get between moviegoers and movie theaters, and then charge theaters for access to moviegoers. This is how Google makes their AdWords money, for example, but the model is far older -- BBB, general contractors, etc.

You may remember this concept from the net neutrality debate!

I just bought the year pass from them. I think the model is just going to fail. Right now they are the fabled "raising revenue by selling a dollar for 90 cents" start up that hopes to "make it up in volume."

The only way it works is if people don't actually use it.

Still waiting for the ability to purchase a new movie from home. Can't think of a single reason why it hasn't happened yet. Charge $50 if you want, people would pay it. And it would probably actually recreate that water-cooler conversations that don't really happen all that often any more.

>Can't think of a single reason why it hasn't happened yet.


Any home version of a movie would be ripped and put on warez in hours after release in 4k. I'd never go to the theater again. But CAMs and TS suck.

Solid point. I'm really surprised this doesn't already happen.

You could argue that this hasn't hurt on-demand services like iTunes and Amazon Video, where people could torrent the videos instead of buying/renting them. With piracy you're always going to lose some small number of customers, but if you make renting them legally easy, people will pay.

They probably balance the cost of piracy vs. the additional sales.

Sure VoD, streaming, and DVD/BR allows piracy, but it also creates many more sales.

People are already paying $10-15 per person to see a movie in the theater. I'm sure some consultant concluded the new sales from pre-release home rentals won't cancel out lost ticket sales and piracy.

They also have to worry about theaters, which are a key part of their busines model but aren't under studio control. If 50% of customers stop going to the movies because they rent at home, that might make theater unviable or make the theatres demand larger cuts of profits.

And I also imagine they are worried about brand dilution. Movies and TV have never been more similar. TV might even have better overall quality now. But movies can charge 12 bucks for 2 hours and TV is having a hard time charging 12 bucks for unlimited everything.

If Avengers 4 is available on your local TV, is it still a movie? Will people still want to pay 50 bucks to stream it? Or are they going to want to pay 3.99?

The more I think about it, I really doubt that piracy plays much into it because, like I said, that already happens with post-theater movies. You can offset the piracy damage by increasing the ticket price or by selling more tickets.

I would imagine that you could do both. Having to go to a theater is a real blocker. These stats from 2014 said on average 3.7 tickets were sold per person, per year. https://www.mpaa.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/MPAA-Theatri... That means on any given weekend there's less than a 10% chance that someone will go to the theater. I would imagine having movies available at home would at least double that number.

And since presumably people will watch these movies socially you could charge much more for them; $50 or $60 per movie doesn't sound unreasonable at all, that's assuming between 4-5 people are watching it together. I wouldn't be surprised if it could go even higher.

Consider going to the theater where you're probably going to buy some food before (either at a restaurant or concessions, or both), with only 2 people you are coming close to, or exceeding, that $60 figure anyways.

As for the impact on theaters, I'm not sure why studios should care. They're just middle-men, right?

This is a thing. Only $35,000 and you can probably haggle.


That's wild. From the website it's not clear which movies are available though. Is it all of them, or does this company make arrangements with certain studios? Also, what's the cost per-movie once you've done the installation?

The media coverage when they launched claimed they had all the latest movies, but I've no idea what the truth is.

I forget which theater chain it was, but I had one of these subscriptions when I was in London alone, semi-broke and super bored for an entire summer back in 2007.

I must have seen every damned movie that came out over a three month period. It was awesome.

This is useless if the quality of movies coming out remains the same. I usually only make it out to see a movie every 3-4 months. It's hard to find something worth a 2-3 hours of my time.

It's also useless because no matter what the theater does, nothing beats the experience of being at home.

It's not like a restaurant. A different atmosphere is a plus with restaurants. Not with theaters: you stare at a screen with the lights off the whole time. Also, with a restaurant you are served food without doing any work. Sure, watching a movie in the theater requires no work, but it's also trivial to play a movie at home.

IMO this is very dependant on the theatre.

The ones here have fancy seating, better sound, 3D, etc. For many movies, it's very much a better experience. If you're watching the bog-standard 2D version of the latest comedy film? Yeah, sure, home is better. Latest action/superhero movie? Unless I spend thousands to put together a home theatre, the added bits at the theatre just make it much better.

Mind you, from the descriptions I've heard of other theatres, I'm mildly amazed by how nice the ones around here are - especially since Cineplex more or less has a monopoly. I suspect they're just gouging us on ticket prices (and snacks, though if you do it right it's not too bad). Still, its nice to go on occasion.

Save 20% on a $10 soda!

Awesome. $9 a month to see the crap they shovel into the theaters.

And now that they get paid regardless of whether I go or not I fully expect the crap to get even worse.

Reminder about Cinemark: - they sued Aurora victims for legal costs - their founder is a donor to Roy Moore's campaign

Because the winning side in a civil lawsuit is allowed to recover its legal costs from the losing side. If the victims wouldn't have brought their insane suit first, Cinemark wouldn't have had costs to recover.

If you bite off more than you can chew don't blame anyone but yourself when you choke.

This seems like a dark marketing pattern:

Pay $7.50 normally or experience the deluxe super duper savers package for $8.99! WOOOO!!!

Hmmm... $8.99/mo childcare. Tempting.

Yeah once a month for an hour and a half.

It has been out for like 3 minutes and the price has already gone from $6.95/month to $8.99/month to $9.95/month.

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