MoviePass takes on AMC over $9.95 theater subscription: Throwdown Thursday

Subscription service MoviePass is offering unlimited movie theater movies for $9.95 a month but AMC Theatres isn’t thrilled about the prospect. This is your Throwdown Thursday.

Pass the popcorn. The blockbuster battle this week? Movie theater subscription service start-up MoviePass aka David versus the Goliath of multiplexes: AMC Theatres. Here’s what happened: MoviePass actually launched back in 2011, but, according to Variety, the subscription service had some trouble getting off the ground—due to legal issues, not sticky movie theater floors.

Then this week, like a sleeper hit that ends up grossing more than a summer superhero movie, MoviePass made a comeback, selling a majority stake to a data firm for $27 million. The sale didn’t get a ton of buzz — there’s been some more pressing news this week — but when MoviePass announced they’d be dropping their subscription rate from up to around $50 a month previously to $9.95 a month for unlimited movies in theaters, people took notice.

And by people, I mostly mean AMC Theatres. The company put out a harsh statement, saying, in part: “that price level is unsustainable and only sets up consumers for ultimate disappointment down the road if or when the product can no longer be fulfilled.” The set-up would also cut into theaters’ ability to provide quality service, they said. 

Now, sure, it sounds a little like sour grapes, or perhaps sour Raisinets, but remember: in the era of peak TV and streaming, movie theaters are struggling. MoviePass says everything will be worked out and they hope to partner with AMC in the future. But will it be a happy ending? Doesn’t sound like it’s a wrap just yet.