Earlier this year we had a strange situation pop up regarding the defunct movie theater subscription service MoviePass. It looked like the service, which ended in 2019, might be coming back. That turned out to be an internet hoax, but now, it appears the return of MoviePass might actually be on the horizon. The brand has a new owner, who's actually an old owner, who wants to bring it back.
Stacey Spikes, one of the founders of MoviePass back in 2011, has bought the bankrupt company from previous owners Helios and Matheson Analytics. The bankruptcy judge has officially approved the sale. In a statement to Business Insider, Spikes has confirmed that he has acquired MoviePass and is very open about his plans to relaunch the service down the road, saying…
Back in June of 2020 Helios and Matheson Analytics held a bankruptcy auction that included MoviePass, but back then there were no parties interested in the service. MoviePass had a minimum bid of $250K at that auction. While it’s unknown how much Stacy Spikes has paid to reacquire MoviePass, it was apparently something less than the amount set at auction.
Launched back in 2011, MoviePass was a subscription service that allowed users to pay a monthly fee, and then, using a special debit card an app, purchase an essentially unlimited number of movie tickets. In the summer of 2017 MoviePass lowered it’s monthly cost to $9.95, and the number of subscribers skyrocketed. However, since that meant users could get more out of the service than they were spending, even after only seeing a couple of movies per month, it was unsustainable.
MoviePass went through a variety of changes in a very brief period of time to try and save itself. It started limiting what movies people could see, and how often they could see them. Eventually the company could not stay above water and shutdown.
Certainly, based on the fact that so many people did take advantage of MoviePass, there is interest in it. If Stacy Spikes can find a way to make MoviePass work where it’s still a good deal for users, a profitable endeavor for the company, and something that theaters don’t hate, then it would be a win for everybody.
Of course, now most major chains have their own MoviePass-like option, so maybe that ship has sailed. Any new MoviePass would likely compete with the existing programs, so getting the theaters on board might be tough. At the same time, as Stacy Spikes says, with theatrical attendance not what it once was, a well built MoviePass might help attendance overall, and all theatrical locations would love to see that.
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