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Entrepreneur Brings Back Defunct MoviePass, and 30,000 People Sign Up Within Five Minutes, Crashing the Site. What He’s Doing Differently with Nearly Half a Million on Waitlist.

MoviePass might have once experienced a “grand opening, grand closing,” but don’t count the movie ticketing service out. Once considered “one of the industry’s most notorious flops,” MoviePass is rising from its downfall to once again become a sought-after film platform. 

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 22: UrbanWorld Film Festival Founder Stacey Spikes speaks prior to the premiere of “The Hate U Give” on Day 4 of the 2018 Urbanworld Film Festival at the AMC 42nd Street Theater on September 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by J. Countess/Getty Images)

The subscription service is slated to relaunch on Labor Day, September 5. Within five minutes of reopening its subscription on August 25 in Beta, 30,000 people signed up for the platform and crashed the website; co-founder Stacey Spikes told AfroTech. The site was down for almost three hours before running again. Since then, MoviePass grew a waitlist of more than 450,000 people within a 24-hour period. At press time, the waitlist was closed, with interested subscribers now needing an invite from a friend. 

“We’re really happy with people’s excitement about MoviePass coming back,” Spikes told AfroTech. “That shows the retention that the brand has and consumer excitement.”

The Birth and Relaunch of MoviePass 

Technology and entertainment entrepreneurs Spikes and Hamet Watt founded MoviePass in 2011. Moviegoers would subscribe to MoviePass, allowing them to purchase up to a set amount of tickets per month. Using a mobile app, subscribers would be able to check in to a movie theater and choose a movie show time. 

After running in beta for six years, the subscription service launched in the summer of 2017. Investors such as True Ventures, AOL Ventures, Lambert Media, and Moxie Pictures were attracted to MoviePass but the romance did not last long. In 2018, Spikes was ousted from the business when it was sold to analytics firm Helios and Matheson.  

By 2019, the company was filing for bankruptcy. Yet in 2021, Spikes was able to repurchase the service back for $140,000, according to the Wall Street Journal. He immediately purchased a domain, developed a website and began rebranding.

Business Reboot Comes With New Subscription Plans 

MoviePass’ rebranding includes new purchasing tiers which allows consumers to control their credits. The new model of MoviePass allows users to establish their monthly prices–ranging from $10 to $30, although details on what is offered with those subscription tiers have not been released. In the past, MoviePass subscriptions were $10 per month. 

“At the end of the day, the playbook is: great service, great product, reliability, transparency, meeting with consumers on a regular basis,” Spikes told The Wrap. “All of those are things that we did before that made the company great and exciting and worthy of an acquisition before, that was radically changing the industry, we want to bring those back.”

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