MoviePass Relaunches in Chicago, 2 Other Cities With New App

Aside from the Windy City, the subscription service is targeting users in Dallas and Kansas City.

MoviePass Price Hike
Darron Cummings/AP

MoviePass has officially rebooted — but it re-entered the subscription-service game with an exclusive twist, launching a beta app that is available in three cities only, including Chicago.

Over the course of five days last week, over 750,000 people joined the service's limited waitlist to get the app. Only those in the company's test markets have access to the service. Aside from the Windy City, MoviePass is targeting users in Dallas and Kansas City.

The relaunch consists of a tiered pricing system, where subscribers will be able to pay between $10 and $30 per month for a set number of "credits" that can be exchanged for tickets. Off-peak showtimes will cost fewer credits, while a Friday night movie will require more credits.

The service has given no indication of how long it will take to spread beyond its three trial markets, but users who managed to get onto the MoviePass waitlist will receive updates if their area is going to be included.

"Other markets will be launched as we continue to roll out based on continued interest and feedback," the company wrote. "Those on the MoviePass waitlist in these cities will receive further information on how the rollout will work in their city."

Throughout its beta period, MoviePass will "listen to your feedback and work out the kinks," the company said in an email.

In its previous incarnation, MoviePass was a subscription service which charged users a flat monthly fee in exchange for a certain number of movie tickets per month. The service exploded in popularity in 2017 when, under new management, it lowered its prices to $10 per month and allowed users to see up to one movie per day.

Subscribers received a MoviePass-branded debit card loaded with the cost of the ticket for the movie they wanted to see, which they could then use to pay at their movie theater.

After lowering its prices, MoviePass saw its subscriber numbers skyrocket from 20,000 to more than 3 million. But because the company did not partner with theater chains and instead paid full price for every ticket that its subscribers purchased, so it quickly began racking up debt as its users took advantage of its generous terms.

In many of the country's biggest moviegoing markets, such as New York and Los Angeles, the price of a single ticket was already higher than MoviePass' monthly fee. At the height of its popularity, the service was losing more than $20 million per month.

MoviePass made efforts to reduce its expenses by raising prices, limiting selection and barring users from seeing new blockbuster films such as "Mission: Impossible" on opening weekend, but the company was unable to fix the fundamental flaws of its business model.

More information about the beta app can be found here.

Contact Us