It became a poster child for too-good-to-be-true tech: MoviePass, founded a decade ago in the East Village, offered cinephiles unlimited theater admission for $10 each month, before it collapsed into bankruptcy in January 2020.
But it may yet have a second act, built on the buzzy web3 technologies. MoviePass 2.0 is coming this summer, as announced Thursday by Stacy Spikes, the company’s founder who left the company in 2018 but bought it out of bankruptcy last year for $140,000. He believes the company can help bring people back to theaters devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a speech at a theater near Lincoln Center that was live-streamed on YouTube, Spikes detailed what went wrong for the business and his plans to restart it. Those plans will rely in part on a group of blockchain-based technologies known as web3. That will include a virtual currency that covers ticket costs, he said, rather than the paid subscription that put MoviePass 1.0 out of business.
It is not clear yet what the new service will ultimately cost or what theater chains it will work with. The business plans he teased Thursday included a demo of how MoviePass customers can watch ads in exchange for access to movie tickets, a model Spikes has designed in another startup, called PreShow Interactive.
Spikes said he put the offer for MoviePass after hearing from a documentary producer that no one had bid on the company while it was in bankruptcy court. A judge signed off on Spikes’ bid in November 2021. MoviePass customer data was left out of the sale.
A former film industry executive, he co-founded MoviePass in 2011, with Hamet Watt, as a service that let subscribers pay $30 to $40 each month for unlimited access to cinema tickets.