Movie Pass Is Back. Should You Sign Up?

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  • MoviePass was a subscription movie service that offered unlimited movies for $10, until it went bankrupt.
  • CEO and co-founder Stacy Spikes bought back the company last year and is relaunching MoviePass on or around Sept. 5, Labor Day 2022.
  • In its relaunch, there will be three pricing tiers: $10, $20, and $30.

If you're a movie buff, the newly relaunched subscription service might be for you.

Want to watch a movie at any theater, any time, for just $10 a month? After membership to MoviePass ballooned to 3 million subscribers by June 2018, MoviePass' parent company, HMNY, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in January 2020. Unfortunately, the company burned through most of its cash by September 2019 and had to shut down.

MoviePass is now back, with CEO and co-founder Stacy Spikes making some major changes with its relaunch on or around Labor Day -- Sept. 5, 2022.

What's different?

MoviePass first launched in 2011 as a subscription movie service. It took off in 2017 when the unlimited movie subscription price dropped to $9.95. After more price fluctuations, customers were limited to 3 movies a month. Eventually, MoviePass could not keep up with its expenses and went bankrupt.

In its relaunch, there will be three pricing tiers. Prices will vary depending on each market, but the general prices will be $10, $20, and $30. Each level will get a certain amount of credits to use toward movies each month.

"And so, if I want to go only on Friday night of opening weekend, I'm probably going to use the maximum number of credits, if you think of peak and off-peak pricing," Spikes said. "But let's say I don't have a problem going to see that movie a few days later on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday night. I can use far fewer credits because the theaters are more open to allowing a lower price."

Why did MoviePass fail the first time?

MoviePass was a subscription service that charged its members a flat monthly fee in exchange for a certain number of movie tickets per month. At one point, members on the unlimited plan could see up to one movie a day. MoviePass at the time did not partner with the movie chains and paid full price for the tickets. As a result, it continued to accumulate more debt as the number of members exploded to 3 million.

MoviePass at its height was losing $20 million per month. The company tried to raise its monthly membership fee and limit the number of movies per member. However, by then it was too late and MoviePass couldn't afford to continue its business model.

Change in business model

Spikes, who co-founded MoviePass in 2011 and left the company in 2017 after its acquisition, bought the company back last year. This time around, the business model is different, according to Spikes. MoviePass has negotiated deals with the theaters, and the number of movies you can watch will be based on your credits. According to the website, "More details to come" on how it will be instituted.

The new service will feature all major theaters that accept major credit cards in the U.S. MoviePass will be launched in waves. The launch determination will be based on the level of engagement from the waitlist in each market as well as locations of exhibition partners. The waitlist opened on Aug. 25, 2022 and ended on Aug. 29, 2022. The waitlist is now closed until MoviePass officially launches.

The average cost of a movie ticket is $9.57, with places like Los Angeles charging $13.69 for a regular movie and $20 for an IMAX. As more details of MoviePass are released, only time will tell if it is successful. Should you sign up? It depends on your budget and how often you want to see movies in a theater. Movie theaters took a big hit during the pandemic and are doing what they can to attract viewers. Spikes is more optimistic, stating that he believes MoviePass will be responsible for 30% of all movie ticket sales across the U.S. by 2030.

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