MoviePass is back and better

Sam Sumski

Back in 2017, the movie subscription service, MoviePass captured everybody’s attention by attaining three million subscribers before quickly falling into debt and filing for bankruptcy in September of 2019. In 2017, the company found itself under new management from the company Helios and Matheson, who changed their policy so viewers could only watch one movie a day for a $10 monthly fee. This became one of the industry’s most notorious failures, as their newly amassed three million subscribers found the new policy implausible. In November of 2021, co-founder Stacy Spikes bought the company out of bankruptcy. On Sept. 5, 2022, with new management, the company relaunched. MoviePass relaunched in Dallas, Chicago and Kansas City in beta form or a trial format. The wait list had 775,000 people waiting to sign up for their business. MoviePass will be a successful company due to the new system for which MoviePass will operate, their new deals with movie theaters, and their competitors’ flaws. 

Illustration by Carsen Goltz

The old version of MoviePass failed because a subscriber could watch one movie every day for paying a monthly subscription of $10. This was an extremely problematic system because most people took full advantage of this deal and went to the movies constantly. Now, the service will have three tiers of pricing in its new model. The first tier is a $10 “basic” plan that allows owners to watch one to three movies per month based on peak or off-peak times. Second is the $20 “standard” plan which allows for two to four movies per month. Lastly, the “pro” $30 tier allows for three to five movies per month. The number of movies a subscriber can see is based on the showing times as well. This is a great strategy to get more people to movies because people can decide how many movies they want to watch per month. Overall, it makes the likelihood of movies being watched a lot higher and movie theaters being more filled.

When considering the state that movie theaters are in right now, some may question the comeback. According to Cable News Network (CNN) Business, the box office is down 31 percent this year compared to the same point in 2019 prior to COVID-19. It is much better than 2021, but it is still not all the way back to normal. One of MoviePass’ main goals is to help fill the theaters with more viewers and the company can really help that with their relaunch to guarantee more movie goers. 

Along with that, movie chains like AMC and Regal have created similar MoviePass models with subscriptions so the consumer will not have to go through MoviePass.

Part of the reason MoviePass failed in the first place was that they were paying full price for the tickets it was offering its subscribers. This time, MoviePass has negotiated deals with theaters to get better deals on the tickets.

In a National Public Radio (NPR) interview Ceo Spikes said, “Even prior to launch, we’ve negotiated partnerships with more than 25 percent of all the theaters. If you take out AMC, Regal and Cinemark, we’ve got 40 percent market share outside of the big three.” That is a really good ratio and if they get more market share, they can end up making those three cinemas have no choice but to partner with them if they want people to watch at their theaters. 

MoviePass has ambitious plans for the future, as Spikes said they want to be responsible for 30 percent of all movie ticket sales by 2030. This seems very feasible considering all of the hype MoviePass has generated around its relaunch and the subscription. MoviePass has a lot of good things moving in the right direction under the new management, and the business is looking forward to a bright future ahead. You may not have believed in the company quick enough to get a pass this time but be ready for their next offering and be certain that you don’t miss out.