MoviePass' rapid rise and fall in its attempt to offer moviegoers unlimited movie tickets for just $10/month is one of the strangest stories in recent Hollywood history. But a new website is teasing that the ticket subscription service might be coming back as theaters reopen after a year of COVID-19.
On Tuesday, the website Moviepass.Ventures displayed a countdown clock that ends on Monday, March 22, along with a promise that "the movie is about to start." However, the original MoviePass website, Moviepass.com, is still unchanged; displaying the shutdown notice that was first posted over a year ago. TheWrap has reached out to MoviePass reps for comment.
A comparison of the new "Ventures" webpage and the still active MoviePass.com page can be seen below.
The dead speak! https://t.co/nXepeR9oPR
— Damien V. ✪ (@TorturedXGenius) March 16, 2021
MoviePass had offered unlimited movie tickets to subscribers at price points that varied depending on user location, with prices as high as $50/month in major cities like New York and Los Angeles. But when analytics firm Helios and Matheson bought a majority stake in MoviePass in August 2017, the company sent shockwaves by announcing a huge service change: one non-premium format ticket per day nationwide for $9.95/month.
Subscriber counts dramatically increased as the company got backlash from major theater chains like AMC, which criticized the service as "unsustainable" and "not in the best interest of moviegoers, movie theatres and movie studios.". Less than a year later, the service had gained three million subscribers.
But the wheels quickly began to fall off as some theater chains refused to participate in the service, customers began to complain of poor customer service and problems with the MoviePass app, and changes to the number of tickets provided -- including the elimination of the unlimited tickets offer -- confused customers. While AMC and Cinemark began to roll out their own ticket subscription services, MoviePass began introducing new fees for popular films and prime timeslots, leading to more public backlash as the subscriber count and Helios and Matheson's stock price collapsed.
But just a month after Mark Wahlberg's production company, Unrealistic Ideas, announced an upcoming docuseries on the MoviePass saga, this new website, which was just registered as a web domain this month, is suggesting a comeback. At the time of its shutdown, MoviePass and Helios and Matheson said the company was "continuing its efforts to seek financing to fund its operations." Whether that financing has actually come remains to be seen.