Movie theater subscription service MoviePass is growing rapidly, even faster than similar subscription-based media disruptors like Netflix was for TV and Spotify for music.
Jumping from only a few thousand to two million subscribers in the past year or so, the company is now claiming they’ll have five million subscribers, and account for almost 10% of all tickets sold in the United States, by the end of the year.
Those type of numbers are significant, especially as the company has already thrown its weight around a bit with some eyebrow-raising behaviour. As a result, some in the film industry are now speaking out about the service in a feature piece in Variety.
These sources fear for the future of the film industry, with one anonymous studio distribution executive calling MoviePass a “cancer on the industry”. Tom Bernard, co-founder of Sony Pictures Classics, is also concerned saying:
“Everyone is happy to take their money right now, but I don’t see that as something that’s going to continue. I’m concerned that to recoup their cash they’re going to try to work some type of deal with the theaters where my [cut of the] box office is going to be diminished.”
It isn’t just studios that aren’t happy with the new model, exhibitors are too as it takes the power away from them to control their own prices. For now many are waiting to see how long the company will last as it has to subsidise all those tickets people are buying.
MoviePass executive Ted Farnsworth, however, says he’s determined to stay, saying he’s sitting on: “hundreds of millions of dollars of dry powder, and I’ve got bankers and debt-financing companies calling me all the time.”