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MoviePass’ co-founder has bought back the company and wants to relaunch it next year

MoviePass’ co-founder has bought back the company and wants to relaunch it next year


MoviePass could be staging a comeback

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Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

MoviePass might be making a comeback soon, after Stacy Spikes (one of the service’s original co-founders) successfully bought back the company out of bankruptcy earlier this week, according to a report from Insider. Spikes is hoping to relaunch the company sometime next year, although there are few details on that yet.

“I can confirm that we acquired MoviePass out of bankruptcy on Wednesday,” Spikes commented in a statement to Insider. “We are thrilled to have it back and are exploring the possibility of relaunching soon. Our pursuit to reclaim the brand was encouraged by the continued interest from the moviegoing community. We believe, if done properly, theatrical subscription can play an instrumental role in lifting moviegoing attendance to new heights.”

MoviePass launched as original all-you-can-eat movie service all the way back in 2011, but skyrocketed to unprecedented levels of popularity in 2017, when the company sold a majority stake to Helios and Matheson Analytics. Shortly afterwards, MoviePass dropped its monthly subscription to just $10 per month, a seemingly unsustainable deal that would see the company offering customers the option to see as many movies in a month as they wanted for less than the price of a single ticket in some pricier markets.

The company’s downfall only accelerated as the popularity of MoviePass grew. The idea behind the lower price (which Spikes reportedly protested before he was fired in January 2018) was to leverage MoviePass’ larger user base to help negotiate favorable deals with theaters, gaining a cut of things like ticket sales or concessions. But that planed failed spectacularly, and by the end, the company was losing money on virtually every customer, stuck footing the bill for millions in tickets that it could scarcely afford. Attempts to salvage things by limiting tickets, blacking out popular films, and other restrictions couldn’t stave off the inevitable, and the company shut down in September 2019.

But MoviePass did help show that theatrical subscriptions could work, at least in theory, with major theater chains like AMC or Alamo Drafthouse offering their own (more expensive) services that offer similar deals.

With Spikes back in charge, it seems doubtful that MoviePass’ return will feature the kind of impossible deals that the doomed service had offered before. But if Spikes actually can pull off a comeback, it might offer useful competition to the in-house services at theaters that have since replaced it.