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The new Moviepass reboot strategy? Bring back the unlimited plan

By Josh Grossberg
MoviePass Getty Images

Like a good Hollywood reboot, Moviepass is going back to what worked best. The flagging movie ticket subscription service is planning to revive its previously unsustainable, insanely popular, unlimited plan backed by a new marketing campaign in an effort to revitalize its business and get back in moviegoers' good graces.

In an interview with Variety, MoviePass' executive vice president, Khalid Itum, disclosed that the unlimited feature is one of a variety of new plans the tech company is rolling out at price points he feels will stabilize its business model while living up to MoviePass' core pledge to get people seeing movies again in the theater.

As part of the new and improved service, MoviePass will launch a publicity push that will include print ads and a billboard in Times Square showing captivated cinephiles looking up at a big screen with the tagline "let's go to the movies."

"It's a tribute to our friends in exhibition," Itum told the trade. "We're saying that the best place to see a movie is a movie theater. That means getting off your couch and going to one. That's sort of a story of human triumph fulfilled, as well as a story of our company fulfilling our promise to you as a consumer."

Itum added that MoviePass will unveil its new and improved unlimited plan next week. No word yet on how much customers will pony up for it, but we imagine it'll be slightly more than a stroll down the red carpet plan.

As part of its revitalization effort, MoviePass announced last month newly restructured three-tier subscription plans reflecting the different prices where people live. The "Select" option is a $9.95 monthly plan ($14.95 if you live in a major city where tickets are more expensive) that allows users to see three 2D movies per month at some point during their theatrical run. But as users are all too familiar now, some frustrating restrictions may apply – like opening weekend may not be available.

The "All Access" plan, ranging in price from $14.95 to $19.95, offers a wider selection of 2D movies than Select as well as opening weekends. And for folks who want to see 3D, IMAX, 4D, and other premium formats, they'll be able to sign up for the "Red Carpet," MoviePass' most expensive monthly offering allowing them to see any three of those flicks at any time.

MoviePass exploded onto the scene last year as a would-be disruptor of the theatrical exhibition business after slashing its unlimited plan to $9.99 a month. The move reeled in millions of new subscribers who embraced the idea of seeing as many movies as they desired.

But it angered theater chains who felt that MoviePass was cutting in on their profits, prompting some, like AMC, to start their own competing subscription services. In fact, AMC's Stubs A-list program has found success in its own right. Last month, the exhibitor announced it had attracted 600,000 subscribers to its service within six months, all of whom enjoy up to three movies a week, including premium formats, for $19.95 a month.

But Item says he's confident MoviePass has found its footing, especially now that he's taking a "more humble" approach by meeting with exhibitors and trying to work with them, as opposed to disrupting their business by demanding a cut on concessions or tickets the company sells.

"I feel like we're turning a corner," he added.

Time will tell.

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