The Return of MoviePass

Back in 2018, MoviePass was a big deal with people who wanted to go to the movies. The small startup was flowing with VC money and posing an impossible deal: subscribe for $10 per month and see unlimited movies in theaters. Of course, this was unrealistic. The cost for a monthly subscription didn't even cover the cost of a single ticket and MoviePass was losing money like crazy. It didn't take long for MoviePass to crater and die in a spectacular blaze.

This past week Stacy Spikes, the original founder of MoviePass pre-VC money, held a presentation announcing he purchased the assets out of bankruptcy. MoviePass is slated to return this summer, but it will look a bit different. Notedly, it will actually contain a workable business model. Catie Keck at The Verge has more.

MoviePass 2.0 will also work on a tiered system, Spikes said. Spikes shared images of a beta version of the new app and the credit-based system, which will vary based on things like peak moviegoing hours. MoviePass’ ambitions for subscribers are, charitably, ambitious. Spikes wants to claim 30 percent of the moviegoer market by 2030, MoviePass’ “moonshot” goal.

The Verge

For whatever subscription price this new MoviePass uses, it will offer credits that get redeemed for movies. In addition, Spikes demoed a technology he developed called PreShow. The gist is that you can watch an ad inside the MoviePass app in exchange for credits. Sounds mundane but the app is also tapping into the facial-recognition technologies built into your smartphone. If it detects you're not actually watching the ad, it pauses and won't continue. It sounds creepy, but Spikes states nothing is sent to the cloud or analyzed by anyone. Additionally, this is purely opt-in. So if you decided to do this, you have full intent and knowledge of the process. While I'm still skeptical, it seems like Spikes is trying to alleviate concerns ahead of time.

I never got to try MoviePass when it exploded a few years ago, but this is something that has always held a bit of appeal due to its way of enabling moviegoing easier. While I still prefer watching movies at home, MoviePass 2.0 will be something to keep on our radars.