Given MoviePass’ status as a laughingstock these days, it can be easy to forget that, before it became a bad service that hated you for using it, MoviePass was actually a very cool platform that became so popular so quickly that it started bleeding money and fell apart over the course of a year or so. But that original idea—paying a flat subscription fee to be able to see as many movies per month as you want—is still a damn good idea, which is why original MoviePass co-founder Stacy Spikes reacquired the brand back in November and vowed to relaunch the service “properly.”
Today at an event in New York, Spikes showed off his plan for what they’re calling MoviePass 2.0, and the most ambitious thing about it might be that it just sounds a whole lot like MoviePass. The second-most ambitious thing about it is that Spikes believes that if 30% of all moviegoers subscribe to the new service by 2030, it will single-handedly double the revenue of the theater industry. In short, he’s not just trying to bring MoviePass back, he’s trying to bring all movie theaters back.
Spikes’ confidence is largely based on some impressive stats about MoviePass’ original run, like how its 3 million users saw 50 million movies during its lifetime, accounting for 4% of the entire theater industry’s marketshare. It also generated a noticeable uptick in ticket sales of independent films and Oscar contenders, and Spikes maintains that, if MoviePass had been a theater chain, it would’ve been the third biggest in the world.
But that was old MoviePass, and Spikes has big plans for his new MoviePass. It all works in the same basic way, where you pay a subscription for MoviePass and are able to use that subscription to see movies, but rather than just using your card or the app to “pay” for a ticket that is technically free (like the old system), your MoviePass subscription will now grant you a certain amount of “credits” that you can cash in to see a movie.
Theaters—which can choose to partner with MoviePass for more control over what they can do—will be able to offer tickets for different amounts of credits, the example shown in the presentation being an off-hours showing being two or three credits while a Friday night showing might be as much as 10. That sounds a little rough, but your credits each month will roll over to the next, you’ll be able to bring a friend to movies (it was unclear if you’d have to pay extra credits, though), and you’ll be able to somehow trade credits to other users.
Spikes says there will also be tiered plans, with more expensive ones presumably giving you more credits to spend each month. That brings us to one of the noticeable issues with MoviePass 2.0: Spikes didn’t say how much any of this will cost. It was implied that the basic plan would follow the original service’s $10 per month structure, but the fact that he didn’t say means it will probably be more expensive.
The other potential catch is that MoviePass is going to be integrated into PreShow, a new service that Spikes invented while MoviePass was dead that rewards users with video game currency (like Fortnite V-bucks or whatever) in exchange for watching ads—and by “watching ads” we mean “the app tracks your eyes so it knows if you’re watching the ad and it will pause the ad if you stop.” Someone living in a cyberpunk dystopia might point out that, paired with the ability to trade credits, this could create a situation where people are hired to sit and watch PreShow ads so they can earn MoviePass credits that are then sold/traded to other people, but… yeah, that seems like it could happen
The new MoviePass is set to launch this summer, but Spikes didn’t offer any more concrete details beyond that. Luckily, he noted that the film crew making the MoviePass documentary has been following him around (and actually gave him the idea to reboot the company), so we’ll be hearing a lot from MoviePass before long.