Will MoviePass’ return help struggling theaters?

MoviePass is coming back. Can its OG founder make it work this time around?

MoviePass is back with original founder Stacy Spikes at the helm.

Will MoviePass’ return help struggling theaters?

A waitlist opens Thursday for a beta launch on Labor Day, and it’s already partnered with a quarter of US theaters, per Business Insider.

Spikes founded MoviePass in 2011…

… but was ousted in 2018 by Helios and Matheson Analytics, which bought, then annihilated the business via bad (and occasionally unethical) moves, like the highly unsustainable decision to offer a movie a day for a mere ~$10/mo.

However, MoviePass was credited with a bump in theater attendance in 2017; one analytics firm found it increased concession sales by 81% YoY at AMC and 101% YoY at Cinemark.

And theaters need help

Cineworld is considering bankruptcy to reduce its debt burden, blaming a lack of films despite blockbuster draws like Top Gun: Maverick.

  • Compared to 2019, new releases are down 38% while Hollywood recovers from the pandemic.
  • Some films — like Hulu’s hit Prey — are going straight to streaming.

So, what’s different now?

Instead of unlimited viewings, MoviePass’ tiered subscription offers credits for $10-$30/mo.

  • Spikes previously said it’d cost fewer credits if users saw a matinee or older film, and that users could watch ads to earn credits.

It’s a strategy that just might get butts in seats during off hours, or for movies people might otherwise wait to stream.

The next anticipated blockbuster — Black Panther: Wakanda Forever — doesn’t open until November.

But smaller releases in between — Don’t Worry Darling, The Woman King, Triangle of Sadness — may appeal to cinephiles willing to give MoviePass a second chance.

Topics: Entertainment

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