Now you can see one movie a day in theaters for $9.95 a month

If you love going to the movie theaters, one startup wants to give you nearly unlimited access for the cost of a Netflix subscription.

MoviePass, a startup that allows its subscribers to watch one movie in the theater every day, is lowering its subscription prices to $9.95 a month. MoviePass will cover the deficit between the subscription and the full ticket price offered.

The move comes after MoviePass, which is run by an early investor in Netflix, sold its majority stake to Helios and Matheson Analytics, a small, publicly traded data firm in New York City, to raise the cash needed to make this move financially viable.

“MoviePass was founded to make it easier for passionate moviegoers and casual fans to see films the way they’re meant to be seen — in the theater,” said CEO Mitch Lowe in a statement.

MoviePass originally started with a much higher subscription price at $30 a month but it did not generate the traction it hoped, according to Bloomberg. In 2016, MoviePass halved its price to $15 a month to new subscribers.

MoviePass has one of the largest movie networks in the United States, with partnerships with more than 4,000 theaters and 36,000 screens — or 91 percent of all existing theaters.

As with all things too good to be true, there are caveats to the $9.95 deal.

The subscription will not cover IMAX and 3D movies and can be only used in theaters that accept debit cards, according to Bloomberg.

Most importantly, the deal is a trade-off for the subcribers’ data. Helios and Matheson, the majority stakeholder, will collect subscribers’ movie-going habits and plans to use it to target advertisements to subscribers.

This practice is commonplace and is not unusual from other popular internet services, says Helios and Matheson CEO Tim Farnsworth.

“It’s no different than Facebook or Google,” Farnsworth told Bloomberg. “The more we understand our fans, the more we can target them.”

With the advent of Netflix and other streaming services, theaters have seen a decline in attendance. Consumers last year spent even an estimated $11.9 billion on subscription streaming services such as Netflix and digital movies delivered on demand, compared to $11.6 billion for box office tickets.

Earlier this month, AMC Entertainment — the largest movie theater company in the United States — saw its shares fall 27 percent to an all-time low at $15.15.

“We are changing the way consumers think about going to the movies by making it possible to experience a broader array of films — from the latest summer blockbuster to a critically acclaimed documentary — through a subscription model,” said Lowe.

Photo: Moviegoers purchase tickets at an AMC movie theater in Arcadia, California on Aug. 2, 2017. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

 

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