It has been an incredibly difficult and strange year for the movie business, to say the least of it. Particularly when it comes to theaters. But things are about to get a bit stranger. MoviePass, the once-popular movie ticket subscription service that went down in financial flames, is seemingly gearing up for some sort of comeback. Details are scarce but a countdown has launched on the company's website, suggesting that something is happening in the next handful of days.
While the original MoviePass website is still a sore reminder of the company's downfall, a new website has launched. The site only has a landing page that has a countdown, building to Monday, March 22, as well as a message that reads, "The movie is about to start." This points to a resurrection of the service in the coming days. Though all of the details, at this point, remain wholly unclear. It is not known who is behind the venture, or what it will entail.
Mitch Lowe, the former CEO of MoviePass, has already confirmed that he has nothing to do with this. Whatever it is, exactly. "I have no idea. It has nothing to do with me," Lowe said in a statement to Variety. Former MoviePass chairman Ted Farnsworth is also reportedly not involved. Plus, the service's owner Helios and Matheson filed for bankruptcy in January 2020. So they are unlikely to be revisiting the venture that destroyed the company. In a filing with the SEC last year, Helios and Matheson said the following.
"After considering strategic alternatives, Helios and Matheson Analytics and its subsidiaries MoviePass and Zone Technologies each filed a voluntary petition for relief under the provisions of Chapter 7 of Title 11 of the United States Code."
MoviePass made waves in 2017 when it launched a game-changing program; for $10 per month, its users could go see one movie per day at almost any theater. Considering that many cities charged more than that for a single ticket, it seemed too good to be true. In many ways, for the business, it was. But for moviegoers, it was, for a time, a revelation. But as time went on, the service became plagued with issues, largely due to financial problems behind the scenes. It turns out losing money with each customer is a bad business model. The service officially ended its run in September 2019.
The idea, however, is something that resonated. Other theater chains, such as AMC, Cinemark and the Alamo Drafthouse, all started their own versions of subscription-based moviegoing. Whether or not those services return as the box office recovers and the industry attempts to get back on its feet remains to be seen. That could be at the heart of this attempted comeback from MoviePass. Perhaps with a less ridiculous business model, pent-up demand for the cinematic experience could pave the way for an unlikely comeback. We'll be sure to keep you posted as any further details are made available. You can check out the countdown for yourself over at MoviePass.Ventures.