MoviePass Coming Back From the Dead? Co-Founder Eyes Relaunch After Buying Bankrupt Service’s Assets

MoviePass - Stacy Spikes

MoviePass, which burned through hundreds of millions of dollars before shutting down amid lawsuits and an FTC complaint, may be getting a second act.

Stacy Spikes, one of the co-founders of the theater-subscription company that shut down in 2019, has acquired the assets of MoviePass in a bankruptcy proceeding. And he says he’s looking to relaunch the MoviePass service in 2022 with new financial backers. A rep for Spikes confirmed the news, first reported by Insider.

“I can confirm that we acquired MoviePass out of bankruptcy on Wednesday,” Spikes said in a statement. “We are thrilled to have it back and are exploring the possibility of relaunching soon. Our pursuit to reclaim the brand was encouraged by the continued interest from the moviegoing community. We believe, if done properly, theatrical subscription can play an instrumental role in lifting moviegoing attendance to new heights.”

Spikes has set up a new website, iwantmoviepass.com, that invites visitors to sign up with their email to get notified when the resurrected service launches.

Founded in 2011, MoviePass was acquired by Helios and Matheson Analytics in 2017. Originally MoviePass launched with a one-movie-per-day plan for $30-$40 per month then cut that to the too-good-to-be-true $9.95 monthly for one movie per day. In a last-ditch effort to save itself, MoviePass in 2018 rolled out a refashioned “unlimited” option for $14.95 per month offering one movie daily but warning that movie choices would be restricted based on “system-wide capacity.”

In September 2019, MoviePass notified remaining subscribers that it would be shutting down indefinitely, saying at the time that its “efforts to recapitalize MoviePass have not been successful to date.”

In January 2020, MoviePass parent Helios and Matheson Analytics filed for Chapter 7 liquidation. In its bankruptcy filing, HMNY estimated the value of MoviePass at between $1 million and $10 million (with $60.9 million in total creditor claims). By the initial deadline, no bids had been submitted for MoviePass. According to Insider, Spikes said his bid for the MoviePass assets was less than $250,000, which was the original minimum set by the bankruptcy trustee. As previously reported, MoviePass’ customer data was not part of the sale.

If there was one feather in MoviePass’ cap, the company succeeded in driving theater chains AMC Theatres, Regal Cinemas and Cinemark to launch their own rival movie-subscription plans.

In June, the FTC announced a settlement with MoviePass, former MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe and Ted Farnsworth, ex-CEO of Helios and Matheson, to resolve allegations that they took steps to block subscribers from using MoviePass as advertised and failed to take reasonable steps to protect user data. The settlement was finalized last month.

Earlier this year, Spikes launched PreShow Interactive, a service that lets users watch ads to unlock in-game currency for free across more than 20,000 games. The startup announced $3 million in seed funding led by Harlem Capital, with additional investments from Canaan Partners, Wavemaker Ventures, Front Row Fund, ROC Fund, BK Fulton and Monroe Harris. Currently, PreShow Interactive is in a beta-testing mode, according to the company’s website, which also says it was slated to launch in the summer of 2021.

Spikes also is founder of the Urbanworld Film Festival, which honors films from Black, Indigenous, Latino and content creators of color from all over the world.