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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Would you pay $50 per month to see unlimited new theatrical releases?

The news broke earlier this week: A company called MoviePass is beta-testing a program in San Francisco that allows movie lovers to pay $50 per month in exchange for an “unlimited” number of tickets to see movies new in multiplexes. Geek Tyrant runs down some of the limitations:

• Users are limited to seeing one movie per day. We understand this limitation, but it’s a bummer for those of us who like to see multiple movies on a rainy Saturday.
• Users can only see a movie one time. If you want to re-watch Transformers 3 or another summer blockbuster, you’ll need to pay for your ticket.
• Tickets are non-transferrable.
• Tickets must be purchased the day of the show.
• 3D and IMAX tickets will cost an additional $3. The user will just pay the difference in ticket price between 2D and 3D but can still purchase and pick up tickets the same way as with a regular 2D film.

Sounds like a bargain even with the limitations. My first thought, however, is that the studios would never go for this: How would they calculate box office?

It turns out, however, that the multiplex chains were the first to cry foul… like, instantly. The beta had only just been announced when (via Wired):

After Theaters Balk at MoviePass, Beta Is Put On Hold

AMC Theatres and other cinema chains say they will not participate in all-you-can-watch movie service MoviePass, leading the startup to put its beta on hold just as the blockbuster Fourth of July weekend is getting under way.

After MoviePass announced its launch earlier this week, movie exhibitors have been pulling away from the service, which would offer users unlimited movie screenings for $50 per month and allow them to buy tickets using their smartphones. AMC even claimed MoviePass included the theater chain without its consent.

“Plans for this program were developed without AMC’s knowledge or input,” Stephen Colanero, AMC Theatres‘ marketing chief, said Thursday in a press release. “It was news to us to see that we were participants and we will be communicating to those theaters they are not to accept MoviePass.”

Camera Cinemas will also turn away customers who attempt to use MoviePass, director of operations Dominic Espinosa said in an interview with Bloomberg. Landmark Theatres CEO Ted Mundorff told TheWrap he didn’t know about the service prior to the announcement of the beta launch.

“We are stunned that an announcement like this was made, and they ‘forgot’ to discuss it with their clients,” Mundorff said. “We are not interested in outside entities setting ticket prices for us.”

Still, it’s possible that the concept may not be dead yet.

Would you pay $50 per month to see unlimited new theatrical releases?

I figure the primary objection most moviegoers might have is that there wouldn’t be enough new theatrical releases each month worth seeing.

What do you think?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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