For $9.95 a month, MoviePass subscribers could see a movie a day in any theater in any city. That’s what the company boasted in 2017. Movie fans raced to sign up — phone lines were flooded, requests for membership cards backed up, and the website crashed. MoviePass was losing money. By late 2018, the company faced lawsuits and wound up in bankruptcy. Well now it’s planning to relaunch this summer.
“Things have changed because of the pandemic with studios … merging with streaming services, and releasing movies both on streaming services and in the movie theaters at the same time, or just going straight to streamers for some movies,” says Karla Rodriguez, pop culture writer for Complex. “So there's a lot now that they have to go up against, but I think people are ready to get out of the house.”
MoviePass’ founder plans to keep the same low price, but there will be different tiers, depending on how often you go to theaters, she adds. “Even if it is higher than $10, if you're paying $18 per ticket for … ‘The Batman’ for example, that evens out … if you're smart about it, and if you really take advantage of your subscription.”
How do theaters themselves feel about this and make money? Rodriguez says they just want people through the door, and they’re relying on sales of popcorn and soda to bring in revenue.