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Theatrical Subscription Service Bows in San Francisco

29 Jun, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

MoviePass, which allows members to watch unlimited theatrical releases for a $50 monthly fee, says service will boost disc sales

Borrowing a page from Netflix and Blockbuster, June 29 launched a subscription-based service that allows members to watch as many theatrical movies as they want for a $50-per-month fee.

A “limited” movie plan (four-movie limit) for $30 per month reportedly is in the works when MoviePass launches nationally in the fall.

MoviePass is available only through an app accessed via an iPhone, Android or other smartphone. Movie screenings and ticket confirmation are done electronically (without physical tickets) through the phone.

San Francisco-based MoviePass is bowing a beta test of the program at more than 20 participating Bay Area theaters with the June 29 release of Transformers: Dark of the Moon from Paramount Pictures.

Subscribers can watch unlimited theatrical releases of different movies. Watching the same movie twice will cost a standard ticket admission. Imax and 3D screenings add a $3 surcharge per admission.

The service is targeted toward avid moviegoers who typically attend opening weekend screenings and covet ownership of the title on DVD or Blu-ray Disc, according to MoviePass co-founder Hamet Watt.

“We enable our members to extend their connection to the movie they just saw by pre-ordering the DVD, digital download or other merchandise as soon as they walk out of the theater,” Watt said in a statement. “MoviePass also enables studios and producers to engage with avid movie buffs based on their film-attendance history.”

At deadline, national theater operators AMC Entertainment, Landmark Theatres and Camera Cinemas June 30 said they would not participate in the MoviePass beta test, saying they had no previous knowledge of the program or test, according to a Bloomberg report.

A MoviePass representative was not immediately available for comment.



About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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