Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

MoviePass swears it's still a viable business

Illustration for article titled MoviePass swears it's still a viable business
Photo: aniel Boczarski (Getty Images for MoviePass)

Despite all evidence to the contrary, like the fact that the app that drives its entire business has been shut down multiple times, that the service is no longer as useful as it was just a few weeks ago, and that the company’s stock has recently had some disastrous turns, MoviePass parent company Helios And Matheson swears that this is nothing but the sort of “rough patch” that all “disruptive enterprises” go through in their early days. That comes from a Helios And Matheson press release (via Business Wire) that also highlights the fact that the strong reaction to MoviePass from theater chains is just like what the taxi industry did when Uber started to gain ground, as its in the theaters’ best interest to shut MoviePass down so it can “continue to charge exorbitant prices for theater tickets and gouge customers with overpriced concessions.”


On top of that, Helios And Matheson points out that MoviePass is actually helping the box office numbers for smaller movies, noting that “nearly one-fourth” of the domestic take for Blindspotting for its first weekend came from MoviePass and that tickets for 12 percent of RBG’s entire theatrical run came from MoviePass. Overall, Helios And Matheson claims that MoviePass accounts for “as much as six percent” of all box office receipts, implying that the movie industry is then six percent stronger today than it would be without MoviePass. (Though that does seem to ignore the possibility that some people would pay to see certain movies if they didn’t have MoviePass.)

Either way, Helios And Matheson says that theaters are fighting desperately to hold onto profits as general box office numbers decline, which it argues is the real “doomed strategy,” so it should be embracing MoviePass rather than trying to kill it. This all seems kind of subjective, since Helios And Matheson is obviously going to say that things are going okay right up until everybody’s MoviePass cards disintegrate, but we’ll know whether or not this defense was legitimate if MoviePass is still around in a few months.