It's the Hollywood sequel nobody saw coming.
MoviePass, the movie subscription service which took the world by storm in 2017 before quickly racking up massive amounts of debt and eventually shuttering in September 2019, has announced that is returning next month.
The company announced in an email that it will return on Labor Day, and will be opening up its waitlist to early sign-ups on August 25. Here's what we know so far about MoviePass' return.
In its previous incarnation, MoviePass was a subscription service which charged users a flat monthly fee in exchange for a certain number of movie tickets per month. The service exploded in popularity in 2017 when, under new management, it lowered its prices to $10 per month and allowed users to see up to one movie per day.
Subscribers received a MoviePass-branded debit card which would be loaded with the cost of the ticket for the movie they wanted to see, which they could then use to pay at their movie theater.
After lowering its prices, MoviePass saw its subscriber numbers skyrocket from 20,000 to more than 3 million. But because the company did not partner with theater chains and instead paid full price for every ticket that its subscribers purchased, it quickly began racking up debt as its users took advantage of its generous terms.
In many of the country's biggest moviegoing markets, such as New York and Los Angeles, the price of a single ticket was already higher than MoviePass' monthly fee. At the height of its popularity, the service was losing more than $20 million per month.
MoviePass made efforts to reduce its expenses by raising prices, limiting selection and barring users from seeing new blockbuster films such as "Mission: Impossible" on opening weekend, but the company was unable to fix the fundamental flaws of its business model.
When it relaunches, the subscribers to the new MoviePass will have the option to sign up for different price tiers, depending on where they live, Business Insider reports. The prices will range between $10, $20 and $30, though there is no indication yet of how many movies users will be able to see each month.
Users will still receive a MoviePass-branded debit card. In its new incarnation, the debit card will be black instead of red, Business Insider reports.
CEO Stacy Spikes, who co-founded MoviePass in 2011, left the company after it was acquired by Helios & Matheson in 2017 and bought the company back last year, said in an email that users who get on the waitlist will each receive 10 friend invites that they will be able to use once they sign up for the service.
For now, only those who get on the waitlist or receive an invite will be able to join MoviePass.
It remains to be seen how popular the new MoviePass will become, but Spikes has ambitious plans for his service. In February, NBC News reported that Spikes said he wants MoviePass to be responsible for 30% of all movie ticket sales across the United States by 2030.