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MoviePass Makes Confusing Changes to Its Subscription Plan as It Flounders for a Business Plan That Works

MoviePass continues to struggle, while searching for a business plan that will appeal to subscribers while laying groundwork for profits.

The company notified subscribers Thursday of more details on the changes it’s making in its service – and they include a confusing set of new restrictions that can change daily according to demand for movies.

“For the time being, we will be limiting the films and showtimes that are available to members each day,” MoviePass said in an email to subscribers. “During this transition period, MoviePass will offer up to six films to choose from daily, including a selection of major studio first-run films and independent releases.”

Last week, MoviePass announced it would change its subscription plan, which had allowed its customers to see movies as often as once per day for $10 per month. The new plan, the company said, limited customers to just three movies a month, with additional tickets discounted up to $5 each.

The revised plan took effect this week, although the transition encountered some glitches. Some MoviePass subscribers who canceled their subscription before the changes discovered that they were somehow signed back up for the new plan. Some users complained that they couldn’t re-cancel their subscriptions.

Over the weekend, MoviePass also encouraged members to go see Mission Impossible: Fallout, even though the box-office hit was blocked on its app.

Under the new changes revealed Thursday, the six films available daily will be published a week in advance on MoviePass’s website. “Showtime availability may be limited depending on the popularity of those films on the app that particular day,” MoviePass said in its email.

MoviePass was founded in 2011, but took off last year after the analytics firm Helios and Matheson Analytics bought a majority stake in the company and lowered the subscription plan to $9.95 a month for entry into one film per day. Since then, the service signed up more than 3 million subscribers, but posted mounting losses. Shares of Helios and Matheson have lost nearly all their market value.

MoviePass is also facing increasing competition. On Thursday, AMC Theaters said it has 260,000 members in its AMC Stubs A-List ticket-subscription service. That same day, Los Angeles-based Sinemia introduced a refer-a-friend program that pays subscribers for bringing on new members. Sinemia’s plan offers three movies a month for $14.99.