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MoviePass users complain about peak pricing

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  • MoviePass introduced peak pricing earlier this month,
    in which users pay an additional fee for in-demand showtimes
    for popular movies.
  • Some subscribers are already fed up with it.
  • Users are complaining that peak pricing even occurs in
    the middle of the day when showtimes are not in high demand, or
    when a theater is not busy.
  • MoviePass says that peak pricing depends on a movie and
    showtime’s popularity, but many users are frustrated that they
    have to pay an additional fee for movies that have been in
    theaters for weeks.

When MoviePass, the popular movie-theater subscription
service, introduced surge (“peak”)
pricing
earlier this month, it was bound to be met with
confusion and some resentment. As Business Insider first
reported in June, peak pricing occurs during high-demand
showtimes for popular movies. During these showings, MoviePass
users are charged an additional fee to see the movie — and no one
likes to pay extra.

But beyond the fact that peak pricing exists, some MoviePass
subscribers are now complaining that the feature is too broad.
Several subscribers spoke to Business Insider about surge pricing
occurring in the middle of the day on a weekday, and these people
didn’t live in highly populated areas.

If you look on Twitter, even more are
complaining about peak pricing:

On its Frequently Asked Questions
page, MoviePass says, “After taking into consideration
demand for a title, date, or time of day is higher, subscribers
may be asked to pay a small additional fee depending on the level
of demand. You can avoid this peak surcharge by choosing an
alternative date or film.”

But one MoviePass user told Business Insider he didn’t
believe that policy was accurate if “every single showing 12
hours before the theater is even open is already peak.” This
particular user, who lives in Connecticut, said he saw Reddit users complaining at
around 1 a.m. on a weekday, and confirmed it for himself by
checking the app for his location.

It’s possible this could just be a glitch on the app, but
it’s not an isolated incident. Many users have been frustrated
about having to pay an additional fee, between $2 and $6, for
showings that are not in high demand.

One Reddit user in that thread said, “My local theater is
surging for a 12:50 showing for $5.25. What the sh–. It’s the
middle of the workday in Kentucky … it’s not that hopping at
the Cinemark I assure you.”

One MoviePass subscriber in upstate New York, who spoke to
Business Insider, said the theaters in his area offer reserved
seating, so he was able to see if a theater was packed (or not)
before purchasing a ticket with MoviePass. A red bolt on the
MoviePass app indicates peak pricing, and a gray bolt indicates
that a movie is almost at peak pricing.

In the
example below, you can see that most movie showtimes on a
Thursday early afternoon were already at peak pricing for this
subscriber:


moviepassScreenshot

As the second screenshot provided to Business Insider below
shows, however, the movie the subscriber was interested in —
“Ant-Man and the Wasp” — was not “in demand” at that time.


moviepassScreenshot

Some complaints may stem from a lack of understanding of
how peak pricing works.

But with the way that MoviePass has described it, it’s fair
that users would be frustrated when a movie like “Ant-Man and the
Wasp,” which has been in theaters for three weeks, is at peak
pricing in the middle of a weekday.

MoviePass did not immediately return a request for comment
from Business Insider.


If you have a MoviePass peak pricing story, email the
author at [email protected]

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