Aside from providing subscribers with cheap theater tickets, MoviePass will now partner with film distributors to offer its own catalogue of films, per Variety. The new undertaking, MoviePass Ventures, was announced this morning at the Sundance Film Festival.
Via MoviePass Ventures, DVD, on-demand, and streamable films will be available to those with a MoviePass subscription. MoviePass’ proposed distribution partners and the movies they would offer remain unknown. In Park City, MoviePass is in the midst of a day-long content series called “Off-Script: The Future of Film,” which includes panels with Lowe, Elijah Wood, plus Daniel Noah and Lisa Whalen, who produced Midnight selection “Mandy” starring Nicholas Cage.
“We aren’t here at Sundance to compete with distributors, but rather to put skin in the game alongside them and to bring great films to the big screen across the country for our subscribers,” said Ted Farnsworth, CEO of Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc, MoviePass’s primary owner. “We’re open for business. We’re here at Sundance — and SXSW is next.”
MoviePass says it is currently buying 3 percent of U.S. theater tickets. Yet its app and marketing-based platform steer subscribers toward certain titles, and as a result, 10 percent of audience-goers seeing 2018 Oscar fare like “The Post,” “Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri,” “Call Me By Your Name,” and “The Shape of Water” have used MoviePass.
“Given the successes we have demonstrated for our distributor partners in ensuring strong box office in the theatrical window, it’s only natural for us to double down and want to play alongside them — and share in the upside,” said MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe, a Netflix and Redbox alum.
Although MoviePass was founded in 2011, its popularity grew exponentially in recent months. Lowe has led the company since June 2016, when it had just 20,000 customers. In August 2017, the monthly membership price dropped from $50 to $9.95, enticing more than 1.5 million new subscribers. Also new to MoviePass is its chief marketing officer, Natasha Mulla.
AMC and other exhibitors criticize MoviePass as an unsustainable business model; the company buys regular-price seats that it provides to subscribers for less. To discourage subscribers from canceling, it imposes a nine-month wait before one-time users can return. Twelve months of MoviePass costs $120, more than the average American spends annually going to the theater (in 2013, the average citizen went to the cineplex five times).