You’ve hung onto your old red MoviePass for exactly this moment: The movie ticket subscription service says it is coming back, after suffering a very slow, public death back in 2019. Cofounder Stacy Spikes has purchased what remains of his once-fire-hot brand, telling Insider that a Southern District of New York bankruptcy court judge has granted him sole ownership.
“I can confirm that we acquired MoviePass out of bankruptcy on Wednesday,” he told the media outlet in a statement. “We are thrilled to have it back and are exploring the possibility of relaunching soon.”
He added his decision to buy the company he started in 2011—but that fired him in 2018, then went bankrupt, and couldn’t attract a competitive bid at a bankruptcy auction last year—was “encouraged by the continued interest from the moviegoing community.”
Officially, the plan is to relaunch the service sometime in the next year. Apparently, Spikes and his team have been busy little bees, though, because a website is already live, iwantmoviepass.com, and it’s brandishing a brand-new logo. The red is long gone:
It\’s also coming back with a new look: a black logo, ditching the red: pic.twitter.com/GSNSyH5NFi
— Jason Guerrasio (@JasonGuerrasio) November 11, 2021
MoviePass was created by Spikes and fellow entertainment entrepreneur Hamet Watt 10 years ago—long before the pandemic, and long before the advent of popular at-home streaming services like Disney Plus and HBO Max. The idea was to charge people one price to see a set number of movies in theaters each month. The concept didn’t catch on at first, so in 2017 they sold the company to a data-analytics firm called Helios and Matheson. The new leadership added a $10-a-month subscription plan that allowed people to see one movie every day. Subscriptions catapulted up by 15,000% in less than one year. But the new business model burned through mountains of cash. Spikes claims he warned the $10 price point was suspect, but got fired in 2018.
MoviePass made more questionable business decisions, helped drive Helios and Matheson literally out of business, and wound up being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the New York attorney general, and four district attorneys in California.
Despite all of that, Spikes says the brand consumer connection remains strong, and he still believes, “if done properly, theatrical subscription can play an instrumental role in lifting moviegoing attendance to new heights.”