MoviePass 2.0 explained: Yes, it looks like an episode of Black Mirror

I’ve said it, and I’m sure others have too: “MoviePass 2.0? Really ? MoviePass, the once unlimited buffet of movie tickets for a monthly fee, is back — but a lot has changed since the death of the original MoviePass. Co-Founder and CEO Stacy Spikes announced the return to the press assembled at New York’s Walter Reade Theater today (February 10).

The presentation, which won’t disappoint anyone wary of this comeback, saw Spikes talk about cameras tracking your eyes, the nebulous term “Web3” and even a credit-based virtual currency. You can watch it for yourself below, but I’ll do my best to break it down for you.

Spikes, who bought the company out of bankruptcy, addressed a cheering crowd, but his proposal seemed curious and unfinished. Spikes, however, presented with confidence due to demand for MoviePass 1.0. According to Spikes, 3 million MoviePass users have seen 50 million movies in 4,000 theaters, or 4% market share in the United States; he also claimed that MoviePass drove substantial amounts of traffic to independent theaters. This would make MoviePass the second ranked exhibitor according to Spikes’ calculations.

We now know that the MoviePass beta is set to launch on Labor Day and will cost between $10 and $30. We also know that if you want to access the beta, you’ll need to join the waitlist between August 25 and August 29.

To be fair, I’m a former member of MoviePass, but I’m not part of any class action lawsuits against the company. I wish MoviePass 2.0 was the rebirth of the original. But how is MoviePass 2.0 supposed to work? If you’re wondering the same thing, get ready for a lot of buzzwords here that haven’t been given an explanation.

MoviePass 2.0: How will it work?

Spikes said MoviePass 2.0 will work with an “end-to-end movie marketplace,” which uses Web3 technology. The benefits of this Web3 involvement are believed to include power, control and freedom.

MoviePass 2.0 will be based on a virtual currency of credits, which will be renewed from month to month. An upgrade over MoviePass 1.0 is that you’ll also be able to bring a friend without needing a new membership tier. Curiously, you can “exchange” credits between users. The development team is still working out the details of this, Spikes said.

Stacy Spikes talks about the PreShow feature during the MoviePass 2.0 presentation

(Image credit: MoviePass via YouTube)

After Spikes claimed you’ll have more control over your privacy, he introduced something called PreShow. This would help businesses speak directly to customers while displaying a bunch of trendy print ads.

That’s when things got very Black Mirror. Remember Fifty Million Merits, the episode where people use exercise bikes to get points for removing ads from their box houses? MoviePass 2.0’s PreShow feature will let you watch commercials – and your phone’s cameras will track your face and eyes to make sure you’re watching – to get credits for movies.

During the presentation of MoviePass 2.0, we saw how PreShow uses eye tracking

(Image credit: MoviePass via YouTube)

Spikes didn’t specify how many ads you need to watch in order to watch a movie for free.

MoviePass 2.0, Spikes said, was meant to be “built by its fan base,” and he likened it to co-op. Users, he said, are meant to be the owners. Parts of the company will be available for investment and registration is open (opens in a new tab) at present. Perks will include a lifetime membership, according to Spikes.

MoviePass 2.0 will award different numbers of its token-based credits at different viewing times, so morning “off-peak” times are cheaper than evening “peak-time” tickets.

MoviePass 2.0 launch date (updated August 24)

In a recent email, MoviePass revealed that the beta will launch on Labor Day (September 5). To participate in the beta, you will need to join the waiting list. The waiting list officially opens on MoviePass (opens in a new tab)at 9 a.m. ET/6 a.m. PT on August 25 and closes at 11:59 p.m. ET/8:59 p.m. PT.

MoviePass 2.0 Pricing: It’s Still (Sort of) a Secret (Updated August 24)

There are three pricing tiers: $10, $20, and $30 per month. Each level will receive a fixed amount of credits, but we don’t know how many credits each level gets. Nowhere in Spike’s February presentation did he use the word “unlimited”, so we expect there to be limits on the number of movies users can watch.

MoviePass 2.0 Theaters (Updated August 24)

In February, Spikes said MoviePass 2.0 will have “partner rooms,” which let you choose your seat in the MoviePass app. Theaters will be able to promote deals to consumers through MoviePass 2.0 if the customer doesn’t go there as often, which was not available before.

We now know that MoviePass should work with all major theaters that accept credit cards in your area. Although MoviePass does not list specific theaters, we expect theaters from AMC Entertainment, Regal Cinemas, and Cinemark to be included.

Movie Pass 2.0 App

Below you can see the four sample screens of the MoviePass 2.0 application, with windows for selecting moves and timings. Here you can see the different credits per show hour.

MoviePass 2.0 app screens

(Image credit: MoviePass via YouTube)

MoviePass 2.0 announcement event

At the event, Spikes gave a history of MoviePass and some kind of blueprint for MoviePass 2.0, starting with a laugh at the change in direction and the catastrophic failure of MoviePass. With a graphic of a flaming phoenix rising from the ashes behind him, Spikes attempts to explain what happened to renew trust, acknowledging those who lost money, as well as those who lost trust and been hurt and disappointed.

He then spoke to “veteran entrepreneurs” who he said caused a lot of trouble. Watch it for yourself, including the part where it talks about “sitting at home feeling sorry for [himself].”

Spikes even offered a “moonshot” goal of 30% of moviegoers (by 2030) becoming MoviePass subscribers, which he said would double annual attendance and movie industry revenue.

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