MoviePass Sets Summer Relaunch With Tiered Pricing Plan and Ability to Bring Friends

Co-founder Stacy Spikes teased virtual currencies within revamped movie subscription service

stacy spikes moviepass
Photo illustration by TheWrap (Getty Images)

MoviePass plans to relaunch its movie ticketing subscription service and app starting this summer, and the company intends to offer multiple tiered pricing plans as well as new functionality, including the ability to bring friends to movies via your subscription.

The new MoviePass will have a virtual currency called “credits” that aim to create a marketplace for theaters to directly entice consumers to come to their theaters and offer special deals or promotions. MoviePass aims to target independent and art house theater chains and provide users the flexibility to visit multiple theaters through the plan, and they’re offering any theater circuit that wishes to partner with MoviePass the ability to do so for free.

These credits will also be transferable and will rollover between months. No specific price points were unveiled as part of the event, however.

Stacy Spikes, the original co-founder of the company who now bought MoviePass out of bankruptcy, unveiled details for a largely revamped company as part of a live event from the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City Thursday and streamed on YouTube. He started things off by poking some fun at the company’s history, its prior owners and its rapid flame out after he says he was fired and ousted from the company.

“There was a really big difference in the belief the way the company should go forward and how to take it to its next level, and we all know what happened after that,” Spikes said before cutting to a photo of the Hindenburg disaster. “A lot of people lost money, a lot of people lost trust, and there were a lot of people who were hurt and disappointed, and I was one of those people who was disappointed and hurt too.”

But Spikes also touted MoviePass’ value to the theatrical industry, claiming that in 2018 at the company’s peak, the market lifted 6% overall on just the behavior of MoviePass customers. At that time, he said the company grew to 3 million users who saw 50 million movies in a single year at 4,000 different theaters, accounting for 4% of the overall marketshare.

Spikes however admitted that while MoviePass didn’t “move the needle” on mega blockbusters like “Spider-Man” or “Star Wars,” it did make a significant impact for smaller films.

“The traffic we drove to independent and art house theaters was very significant,” Spikes said. “People didn’t see MoviePass as a discount, they saw it as a discovery tool. Well, I’ve got my MoviePass, let’s go check this out.”

In data first revealed by Business Insider earlier this week, MoviePass claims via their internal data that in 2018 MoviePass users accounted for nearly 20% of tickets sold to some of the biggest independent films released that year. It also says it accounted for 4% of the nationwide market share across all titles, having compared internal ticket-sales data with box office data from tracking website The Numbers.

Insider went into more detail and said that 19.4% of the tickets sold for 2018’s indie darling “Sorry to Bother You” came from MoviePass, the highest percentage for any film it tracked. That film brought in $17.4 million at the domestic box office overall. Their second highest was the Natalie Portman thriller “Annihilation,” which made $32.7 million domestic, and MoviePass claims it was responsible for 18.3% of that total. It also said that at one theater in New York, 55% of the tickets sold for the Mister Rogers documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” came through MoviePass.

Spikes acknowledged that MoviePass can’t beat the loyalty program subscription offerings from other theater chains that have cropped up since MoviePass folded, so the new approach will be to partner with theaters and studios so that they can market to consumers directly and find ways to reach them off peak hours, provide discounts on concessions or other promotions.

He also teased that Spikes’ other company PreShow, which is technology that offers people to gain rewards by watching ads and other longer-form content, will be integrated into the MoviePass app as a way to obtain additional credits.

He finally said that it will be a company that can be owned by its fanbase, and those who want to invest in the company and have partial ownership of it can do so at various levels, including one that will offer a lifetime membership to MoviePass. Spikes concluded the event by offering fans that were in attendance the ability to try out the Beta version of the relaunched MoviePass app, which he also briefly demoed as part of the event.

Spikes, who originally co-founded the company but exited when the subscription ticketing service was purchased by Helios and Matheson Analytics in 2017, bought back MoviePass out of bankruptcy late last year with the intention of relaunching it and reviving the company’s brand.

After the acquisition, MoviePass exploded in popularity in 2017 and rapidly grew to as many as 3 million users by slashing the subscription fee from up to $50 to $10 per month for regular tickets. But the company flamed out with bugs, restrictions and confusion among users, and the company’s low price point proved unsustainable and led to Helios and Matheson’s bankruptcy by 2020.

Spikes spoke with TheWrap back in November after re-acquiring the company and acknowledged how the landscape has changed immensely, both in exhibitors offering their own subscription services, the pandemic drastically impacting how many people go to the theater and with new streaming services dominating the market. He also at the time made clear that the price would not again be $10 for the subscription service and was hopeful that by delivering a good product that he could work to salvage the company’s brand.