MoviePass Discounts Movie Tickets, Doesn’t Inform Theaters

If you’re going to setup a movie ticket service, partner with MovieTickets.com and try to work with major theater brands in the U.S. it would probably be a good idea to let everyone involved know about your plan to discount movie tickets, unfortunately that crucial step was forgotten by MoviePass.

The company in the last week began offering discounted movie tickets to shows throughout San Francisco. Among the theaters involved were Landmark, AMC, Camera Cinemas, and Big Cinemas.

The ticket service discounted tickets for customers, allowing them to buy tickets below theater costs, however those movie theaters still received full admission price. While you may think that the extra customers and regular priced ticket payments would be appreciated by theaters, they didn’t like being kept in the dark and having their own services undervalued.

If you’re unfamiliar with MoviePass, the Android and iPhone based service was conceived to give a free movie pass to buyers who purchase a four-movie $30 plan and further discounts/tickets to buyers of the company’s $50 unlimited plan.

In response to the program AMC released the following statement:

AMC Theatres® (AMC), a leading theatrical exhibition and entertainment company, today announced it will not participate in the beta test of MoviePass, an initiative launching this weekend in the San Francisco area.

“As MoviePass was created without AMC’s input and testing, we cannot confidently say the guest experience would be positive for our guests and specifically our AMC Stubs members”
“Plans for this program were developed without AMC’s knowledge or input,” said Stephen Colanero, chief marketing officer at AMC Theatres. “As MoviePass is currently designed, it does not integrate well into our programs and could create significant guest experience issues.”

Some concerns with the program include AMC Stubs members’ ability to receive credit when purchasing a MoviePass. AMC Stubs, the company’s rewards program, was rolled out in April 2011 and rewards participants for ticket and concessions purchases.

“As MoviePass was created without AMC’s input and testing, we cannot confidently say the guest experience would be positive for our guests and specifically our AMC Stubs members,” said Colanero. “We were surprised to see the press release and subsequent press coverage of MoviePass earlier this week as it included several of our San Francisco locations. It was news to us to see that we were participants and we will be communicating to those theatres they are not to accept MoviePass.”

While discounts to customers is a great way to generate business, I have to agree with AMC in this situation, they have a right to control how their business operates and to ensure that their customers receive the type of streamlined service with AMC rewards they have promised to deliver.

With all of that being said, ticket prices are approaching ever closer to $15 per person in some larger cities and a discount program that still offerx high payouts to gheaters wouldn’t be the worst idea we’ve ever heard.