MoviePass may be coming back.
Stacy Spikes, co-founder of the controversial movie ticket subscriptoin service, has been granted ownership of the company by the Southern District of New York’s bancruptcy court as of Monday. He intends to relaunch the service at some point next year.
According to Business Insider, which states that they have reviewed the court documents in question, Spikes made an offer to the trustee handling the bankruptcy of Helios and Matheson Analtics, the former parent company of MoviePass. The purchase price was undisclosed. Former customer data and email addresses were not part of the sale.
In a statement to Business Insider, Spikes said –
I can confirm that we acquired MoviePass out of bankruptcy on Wednesday. We are thrilled to have it back and are exploring the possibility of relaunching soon. Our pursuit to reclaim the brand was encouraged by the continued interest from the moviegoing community. We believe, if done properly, theatrical subscription can play an instrumental role in lifting moviegoing attendance to new heights.
Spikes has been working on securingthe financing for the relaunch since this past summer. A website for the relaunch is already in place where consumers can submit their email address to be notified when the service returns.
At the peak of its short life in June 2018, MoviePass boasted a subscriper base of some 3 million customers who were able to see one movie a day, every day of the month for a fee of just $9.99. (When the company launched the subscription rate was $30 a month, but struggled for years to build their subscriber base. The drop to $10 a month saw a corresponding boom in enrollment in the program.
Initially, the company hoped to be able to sell the data it was collecting about its users’ movie-going habits, for possible use in demographic-targeted advertising. It also looked as if MoviePass was counting on usage similar to health clubs, where some subscribers use the service on a regular basis, but the bulk of customers might not from month to month while still paying their monthly fee.
The cracks in the company’s surface started to show the summer of 2018 when it was announced that it was expecting to run a deficit of $45 million for the month of June. The weekend of its premier, MoviePass blocked out the ability to purchase tickets for the Tom Cruise action film Mission: Impossible: Fallout. As the summer rolled into the fall, MoviePass continued to change its terms of service and the availability of certain movies as a way to stem the flow of red ink. The company eventually folded up shop in mid-September 2019 with a subscriber base estimated in the low 100,000s.
Spikes was with MoviePass when it was first founded in 2010, but was fired in 2018 after he raised concerns that the company could remain vaible oncethey switchedto the $10 a month subscription rate.
Currently, The Day I Met El Chapo producer David Broome is working on a documentary charting the company’s rise and meteoric fall.
Despite its eventual- or possibly now temporary – demise, MoviePass did show that there was an appetite among moviegoers for some sort of a subscription-based service. While MoviePass was unable to find a stable financial model on which to build its business, many theater chains looked at their core idea and adapted it for their own patrons. Currently AMC, Cinemark and Alamo Drafthouse all have subscription-based ticket services similar to MoviePass.
And what shape will this new iteration of MoviePass take? That’s hard to say. Given that Spikes was the one who warned of the danger of keeping their subscription price so low in 2018, I don’t think we will see a return of that $10-a-month price point. But we will definitely be watching to see the newly-risen company will have to offer.