MoviePass to Co-Acquire Movies With Distributors, Starting at Sundance

Sundance 2018: Monthly movie theater subscription company makes another provocative move

MoviePass Studio Movie Grill partnership

MoviePass, the $9.95-per month movie-theater subscription service, on Friday announced a new subsidiary that will co-acquire movies with established distributors, beginning at this month’s Sundance Film Festival.

“We aren’t here at Sundance to compete with distributors, but rather to put skin in the game alongside them and to bring great films to the big screen across the country for our subscribers,” said Ted Farnsworth, CEO of MoviePass parent Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc. “And SXSW is next.”

“We’ve experienced enormous success bringing people back into the theaters since our launch in August and with an influx of business from distributors, have proven the impact of our marketing over and over again, giving them an incremental lift in ticket sales,” MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe said in an announcement at the company’s “Off-Script: The Future of Film” presentation at Sundance.

“Given the successes we have demonstrated for our distributor partners in ensuring strong box office in the theatrical window, it’s only natural for us to double down and want to play alongside them — and share in the upside,” he added.

The company recently announced it had signed up 1.5 million subscribers, paying $9.95 per month to get up to one ticket per day from 91 percent of the nation’s movie theaters.

Exhibitors, many of whom offer their own rewards programs, have objected to the new service, saying the business model is unsustainable since MoviePass is generally paying full ticket prices to the theaters and setting up a false expectation that the lower ticket prices will be sustainable over time.