A little more than a year after its launch fizzled, MoviePass is back. This time, the self-described unlimited movie-watching service has gone digital, launching a smartphone app today backed by investors that include WME and AOL Ventures. The so-far iPhone-only app allows moviegoers to reserve tickets which they then pay for and pick up at theaters using a pre-paid membership card that acts like a credit card. The monthly price for the currently invite-only service is about $29.99 depending on where you live and ticket prices in that area. But like last time, the program is not “unlimited” and is moving forward without the backing of major exhibitor chains.
MoviePass is back, this time with a new partner. The upstart ticket service tried to launch in June, with a plan to offer consumers admission to unlimited movies in a calendar month for a $50 pass. That kickoff fizzled before it began, …
UPDATE: MoviePass Gets Its Ticket Punched As Trial Launch Is Canceled After Two Movie Chains Give It Thumbs Down
UPDATE, 7:12 PM: Reps for MoviePass confirm they have thrown in the towel and canceled their test run in San Francisco this weekend. They say this is on a “temporary hiatus,” but I doubt we’ll see this service up and running again particularly since it’s clear two major theater chains don’t want it. That Moviepass counted six AMC theaters in its test run without actually getting clearance from that chain or from Landmark, probably qualifies this as one of the most boneheaded stillborn launches in recent entertainment history.
PREVIOUS: Hollywood doesn’t like to let newcomers into its exclusive club. When a couple of companies tried to sell sell futures based on box office movie grosses, the MPAA used its lobbying might to crush the ventures in DC. Netflix is one of the few interlopers that managed to create a niche for itself in the Hollywood infrastructure, helped by the indisputable fact it was providing a new revenue source at a time when DVD revenues went in the crapper. So it’s not surprising that an upstart service like MoviePass is having so many problems as it tries to test out a service that was to start this weekend in San Francisco. The plan was to charge $50 a month for passes that allowed buyers to see as many movies as they wanted in a calendar month. Stacy Spikes, one of the execs who formed the venture, seemed crestfallen this evening; on the eve of the test program, AMC and Landmark both said they hadn’t been informed about it, wanted no part of it and even seemed to scoff at it.