MThe return of oviePass has been announced. TIME interviewed Stacy Spikes in April about her plans to relaunch MoviePass, the moviegoing subscription service. Now Spikes has announced MoviePass’ official return date: September 5.
This company hopes to bring people to the theaters in a time of great need. In the past few weeks, no major blockbuster has been made and they are not expected to be released until October. Spikes believes MoviePass will help to fill the seats and gain momentum before Oscar season.
“We believe now is the best time to relaunch,” Spikes told TIME this week. “Studios and theaters are open to experimenting with new ideas. There’s a strong slate of films coming and we’re very excited to help get cinema back on her feet.”
MoviePass was once responsible for purchasing about 6% of all tickets. It is still very popular. Spikes sent an email announcing a waitlist for those who registered to the service before it launched on Labor Day. Spikes reported that about 30,000 individuals registered in less than five minutes. The announcement crashed the MoviePass website.
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MoviePass was a service that allowed moviegoers to view one film per day. It cost a flat monthly fee of $10, and dropped to $10 at its lowest point in 2017. It sounds unbelievable, but it is true. Spikes says he questioned the wisdom of keeping this promotion running beyond a few days, but a data-analytics firm had purchased a majority stake in the company and didn’t heed his advice. Spikes was fired from MoviePass and MoviePass filed for bankruptcy in 2018.
Spikes purchased MoviePass and will now be the head of the new MoviePass version. Here’s what you need to know about how MoviePass will work.
MoviePass: When is it going to relaunch its service?
Beta version will be relaunched on Labor Day, September 5. You can join the waitlist by clicking here.
After signing up, users on the waiting list will be allowed to invite 10 people. MoviePass is currently only available for road testing to people on the waitlist and those invited by friends to the beta. The company has yet to say when its beta program will grow beyond Beta testing.
What is the cost of this?
The plans available are $10/month, $20/month, or $30/month. To give you an idea of the situation, in 2019 the average cost of movie tickets was $9.16, according to National Association of Theatre Owners. This stat hasn’t been updated since then.
What will MoviePass look like?
You will receive credits depending on the price you select. These credits can be used to purchase tickets for different movies. You will pay more for a Prime-Time screening on Friday than for a showing on Tuesday. AMC and Regal use a similar pricing model. They charge less for weekdays than weekend screenings.
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Bigger films like Wakanda Forever: Black PantherCredits will be more expensive than credits for smaller and less-in-demand indies. It’s unclear how many movies, on average, a subscriber will be able to see in a given month. But Reddit is sure to be filled with tips on how to get the most bang for your buck—er, credits.
MoviePass is still available at all of the big movie theater chains, as well many smaller ones. MoviePass has partnered up with MasterCard to provide a debit cards for customers. Subscribers will have the option to either order movies through the app, or use the debit card at the cinema.
MoviePass can purchase movie tickets directly from the theaters, and then distribute them to its customers. They don’t need the major movie chains’ permission to do so. But Spikes hopes to strike deals with movie-theater chains to buy tickets at a discounted price and help them fill otherwise-empty seats on slower days—seats that also translate to popcorn sales for the theater.
Spikes states that he has partnered with approximately 25% of the movie-theater chains in the U.S., though this does not include AMC Regal, Cinemark and Regal. Spikes set a lofty goal for MoviePass, to account for 30% of all U.S. movie ticket sales by 2030.
MoviePass closed down.
The 2018 MoviePass Card
MoviePass’ rise and fall is an interesting and complicated story. Spikes and Hamet, who co-founded MoviePass, sold the majority of their stakes to Helios and Matheson after years of failing to pitch MoviePass investors. According to Spikes, Helios and Matheson decided to launch a promotion—unlimited movies for just $10 per month. Within 48 hours, sign-ups jumped from 20,000 to 100,000.
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Spikes disapproved of what was meant to be a short-term offer. Instead, he received a business plan for the future. Spikes received a notification in 2018 that his services weren’t needed. MoviePass had 3 million subscribers within a short time. MoviePass began losing money because too many people were watching too many films.
MoviePass ended in 2020 after Matheson and Helios filed for bankruptcy. The next year, the Federal Trade Commission accused Helios and Matheson of deceiving customers and invalidating passwords so customers couldn’t buy as many tickets. The FTC settled the case against Matheson (Helios) last year. Spikes bought the name back in 2021 and began work on a relaunch strategy.
Who is MoviePass’ competition?
Since MoviePass’ demise, several theater chains have launched their own MoviePass-like services. Regal provides unlimited screenings at $18 per monthly, which is very similar to MoviePass’s appeal. Alamo Drafthouse Season Passes are available for between $20 and $30 per month depending on where you live. There is a maximum of one film per day.
Others have a limit to how many movies they allow you to see. AMC Stubs AList program costs $20 per month and allows you to see up to three movies each week. According to the theater chain, it boasts about 1,000,000 members. Cinemark has around 1,000,000 members to its Cinemark plan. It charges $10 for one month of movie tickets. These programs often offer discounted concessions.
Is it safe to say that movie theatres are in dire need of improvement?
Grim. It was grim. Movie houses saw an increase in attendance this summer. Maverick: Top GunTruly, we were the best! TitanicIt became the biggest-grossing domestic movie in box office history. TikTok’s Gentleminions phenomenon drove teens to the theaters in support of the film. Minions movies.
However, box-office sales have been declining since July. Due to COVID-19-related delays, studio calendar reshuffles and other factors, no major movies have been released in theaters over the past few weeks. That drought likely won’t end until late October when horror flick Halloween ends and Dwayne Johnson’s superhero movie Black AdamHit theaters. Matthew Belloni (film prognosticator) recently stated that Hollywood could go for two months without making a $25,000,000 opening weekend. In general, summer box offices are down 25% compared to 2019.
Cineworld, which owns the nation’s largest movie chain Regal Cinemas, cited this slowdown when it announced on August 22 that the company was considering filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Theaters are so desperate to lure customers right now that they’re offering movie tickets for just $3 during newly launched National Cinema Day.
Wakanda Forever: Black PantherAnd The Way of the Water AvatarThe films are expected to be in theaters by the end of the holiday season, which could provide a boost for the box office. MoviePass might play a part in helping to boost the box office. Historically, the subscription service made little impact on ticket sales for major blockbusters—people were going to see those movies anyway. It did increase sales of documentaries and indies as well as Oscar bait (the films that are on the autumn calendar).
Whether MoviePass can prod moviegoers into seeing flicks like David O. Russell’s Amsterdam, Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans, or Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry DarlingThis autumn could be a key indicator of whether box office recovery can occur by year’s end.
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