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MoviePass rolls out surge pricing for ‘high-demand’ titles and showtimes

Lulu Chang
MoviePass card and iPhone app

The summer blockbuster season is fast approaching, and so too are changes to your MoviePass subscription. Unfortunately, they’re not all quite as exciting as the titles we’re expecting to see in theaters over the next few months. As Business Insider reports, the popular movie theater subscription service will soon be introducing its own version of surge pricing, which will apply to titles and showtimes that MoviePass determines are the most popular.

CEO Mitch Lowe calls this new model “high-demand” pricing, and it will involve an additional $2 for movies that MoviePass subscribers are most interested in seeing. “At certain times for certain films — on opening weekend — there could be an additional charge for films,” Lowe told Business Insider. According to Lowe, the company hopes to help its partner theaters attract a larger audience for hit movies even beyond opening weekend. Lowe also noted that the new pricing scheme seeks to “make sure that we can continue to offer a valuable service and support the whole enterprise.”

That’s not the only change afoot, though. MoviePass will also be launching a new feature come August that allows members to add a friend when buying tickets through the app, and will also be able to pay extra to purchase tickets to IMAX and RealD 3D films. With the bring-a-friend option, you’ll be able to add a ticket for someone who isn’t a MoviePass user. The additional ticket won’t necessarily be cheap, as Lowe notes it’ll set you (or your friend) back “somewhere near the retail price of the ticket,” Lowe said. But you’ll be able to choose a seat for both you and your fellow attendee if assigned seating is available.

As for the addition of IMAX and RealD 3D, the additional price will range somewhere between $2 and $6.

These changes come hot on the heels of movie theater chain AMC’s announcement that it has brought about its own MoviePass-esque service. Lowe notes that the recent news “validates that subscription is really here to stay.”

“It’s been tough when you have the president of AMC essentially for eight or nine months telling everybody that our subscription was not sustainable, and then he comes out with a program that essentially could cost him $60 or $80 a month to pay the studios their minimums and collecting $19.95,” Lowe said in reference to AMC CEO Adam Aron. “So it is a little bit kind of funny that it’s pretty clear what he wanted to do — clear the way for his own subscription program and not have competition.”