MoviePass returns with a tiered plan but can you trust it?

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MoviePass is rising from the grave, launching a beta for its upcoming movie theater subscription service on Labor Day 2022, which takes place on September 5.

Exact details on how the new service will work are still sparse at the time of this writing. According to the official website, this upcoming rendition of MoviePass will have three different pricing tiers: $10, $20, and $30. Each tier will offer a certain amount of credits per month that can be used to watch a movie in theaters. 

It appears that the service will start with a limited launch in the United States. MoviePass states on the FAQ page that its service will not be available to everyone in the country, but will instead be released in waves. The rollout will be determined according to the amount of engagement MoviePass gets in its initial launch and the locations of partner theaters. And whenever the service enters a new market, users will get an email informing them of the upcoming release.

Beta waitlist

With regards to availability, the FAQ page states the service will work with “all major theaters that accept major credit cards…”  A recent Business Insider report reveals beta users can order movie tickets through the app or get the new black card in the mail that will serve as their ticket. People can use that card at any “box office that accepts MasterCard.”

Those interested can sign up for the beta waitlist which opens on Thursday, August 25 at 9 am EST. It’s first come first serve and free to sign-up, but space is limited. The sign-up window will stay live until Monday, August 29 at 11:59 pm. The lucky few who get selected can invite 10 other people to become a member. Plus, previous MoviePass members will get free complimentary credits added to their accounts.

While the new MoviePass sounds good, we have a lot of questions. We reached out to the company and asked where exactly the service will first launch and for details on how the credit system will work. We also brought up the possibility of cryptocurrency integration.

This version of MoviePass was actually first revealed back in February 2022, and during the initial announcement, cofounder Stacy Spikes said the service will be built on “a Web3 framework”. For those unaware, Web3 is the idea of a new version of the internet that incorporates aspects of blockchain tech and cryptocurrency. Needless to say, this framework has had a lot of vocal critics.

According to an Engadget report, MoviePass will have some “kind of virtual currency.” This story will be updated if we hear back from them. 

Analysis: Bad timing

Truth be told, we’re skeptical of this new MoviePass and it’s not because of the possibility of Web3 integration. 

The company has a pretty checkered past. The old MoviePass offered a monthly $9.95 plan that brought in three million subscribers at its peak, but it failed to turn a big enough profit for investors despite initial promises, according to a report by Forbes. This led to the company being investigated by the “New York Attorney General for allegedly misleading investors about [its] financial sustainability.” On top of that, MoviePass suffered a data breach back in 2020 after thousands of credit card numbers were left on an unsecured server that had zero password protection.

Assuming MoviePass can still be trusted, the movie industry is in a really weird spot right now. A moviegoer poll by Morning Consult revealed that theater attendance is still rather low in the US.

Rising ticket costs and the availability of streaming services mean theaters are often not the first choice for a movie-consuming public. Regal Cinemas, one of the largest movie theater chains in the United States, recently announced it may have to file for bankruptcy as it drowns in debt.

With this oddly-timed effort, MoviePass can be credited with almost blockbuster (no pun intended) showmanship. Best of luck to the service. Hopefully, we won’t see another shutdown like in 2019.

If you’re a big movie buff, TechRadar recently updated its New Movies 2022 list for the final four months of the year.

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