Hold on to your popcorn, MoviePass is back.
After fizzling out a few years ago, the subscription service is set to return in a beta version on Labor Day, say the proprietors, who are inviting prospective customers to join a waitlist that will open this Thursday at 9 a.m. The waitlist will be open for five days, and customers will be informed on September 5 whether they can access the service. According to published reports, pricing will vary according to the user’s zip code, with general tiers ranging from $10 to $30 a month.
It’s still unclear which theaters will be participating in the service, and whether first-run blockbusters will be included. MoviePass said it has nailed down partnership agreements with a quarter of movie theaters in the US, though Regal Cinemas is experiencing its own financial issues, as reported here last week.
MoviePass got its start in 2011 as a purveyor of flick tix, offering everything but the popcorn to moviegoers who paid $50 a month – later dropped to $10 — for a subscription to a service that allowed them unlimited access to movie titles. MoviePass was banking on the hope that a large subscriber base would give it considerable leverage in negotiating terms with film studios and distributors. Within two years, however, the deal proved unsustainable and the company was forced into bankruptcy.
The resuscitated MoviePass had new life breathed into it last November, when its cofounder Stacy Spikes revealed that he’d bought the company back after the bankruptcy of Helios and Matheson Analytics, its parent company.
In announcing his new plans for MoviePass, a confident Spikes was quoted as saying “We’re going to make mistakes. We’re not going to get it right out of the box. It’s going to be trial and error.”
And, in case you’re nostalgic for the old days, a documentary series chronicling MoviePass’s rise and fall is in the works. It’s being developed by Unrealistic Ideas, with Mark Wahlberg as executive producer.